Watch the video above for a briefing on the new technology being created to prevent crashes caused by a lack of sleep.
We know it is difficult to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night - but drivers who are just one or two hours shy of that recommendation nearly double their risk for a crash the next day, according to a new study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (PDF) and released Tuesday.
"While we do not think anybody would be surprised to learn that driving while extremely sleep-deprived increases a driver's risk of being involved in a crash -- this admittedly is rather intuitive -- we were surprised to find a detectable increase in crash risk when a driver had slept even just one hour less than the seven hours recommended by sleep experts," said Brian Tefft, senior research association for the foundation, who led the new study.
A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
in February found that more than a third of adults in the United States reported getting less than seven hours of sleep
daily. The CDC even has called insufficient sleep a "public health problem
The new AAA study featured data on 7,234 drivers who were involved in 4,571 vehicle crashes, from 6 a.m. to midnight, between 2005 and 2007. The data were from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey
, which included how much sleep drivers reported having in the 24 hours preceding a crash.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that drivers who had slept for less than four hours had 11½ times the crash risk rate of drivers who had slept seven hours or more; drivers who had four to five hours of sleep had 4.3 times the risk; those who had five to six hours had 1.9 times the risk; and those who had six to seven hours had 1.3 times the risk.
In other words, "the crash risk of a driver who has slept for only four to five of the past 24 hours is approximately quadruple the risk of a driver who has slept for the expert-recommended minimum of seven hours, similar to the crash risk of a driver who is legally intoxicated relative to a sober driver," Tefft said.
A 2012 study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine
found that sleepiness carried almost as much risk as alcohol ingestion while driving.