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Asleep at Wheel: 1 in 24 Say They Have Done It; Study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Looked for Drivers Who Nodded off in the Past Month

Article excerpt

NEW YORK This could give you nightmares: 1 in 24 U.S. adults say they recently fell asleep while driving.

And health officials behind the study think the number is probably higher. That's because some people don't realize it when they nod off for a second or two behind the wheel.

"If I'm on the road, I'd be a little worried about the other drivers," said the study's lead author, Anne Wheaton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the CDC study released Thursday, about 4 percent of U.S. adults said they nodded off or fell asleep at least once while driving in the previous month. Some earlier studies reached a similar conclusion, but the CDC telephone survey of 147,000 adults was far larger. It was conducted in 19 states and the District of Columbia in 2009 and 2010.

CDC researchers found that drowsy driving was more common in men, people ages 25 to 34, those who averaged less than six hours of sleep each night, and for some unexplained reason Texans.

Wheaton said it's possible the Texas survey sample included larger numbers of sleep-deprived young adults or apnea-suffering overweight people. …