NPR recently reported that 4 in 10 teens admit to texting while driving. And texting while driving replaced drunk driving as the number one cause of death among U.S. teens.
Now, a new Australian study ties lack of sleep to higher risks of crashes among young drivers.
Distracted AND Drowsy? OH. MY.
Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney surveyed more that 19,000 people between the ages of 17 and 24.
They found those who were getting 6 or fewer hours of sleep per night increased their risk for a crash compared to those getting MORE THAN 6 hours per night.
But those who did not catch-up on the weekend increased their risk and were more likely to be involved in “run-off-road” crashes.
RESULTS SHOW CRASHES INVOLVING YOUNG, DROWSY DRIVERS TYPICALLY OCCUR BETWEEN 8 P.M. AND 6 A.M.
Researchers want to make young drivers aware of the importance of sleep and its affect when they’re behind the wheel.
DR. HARNEET WALIA TREATS SLEEPS DISORDERS AT CLEVELAND CLINIC AND AGREES.
CG: Dr. Harneet Walia/Cleveland Clinic
“Because the sleepiness can lead to attention lapses, impairment in concentration, impairment in judgment, slowed reaction time.“
WALIA ADDS, “There has been a lot of data out there that reports people who sleep less are more likely to be involved with drowsy driving and drowsy driving is one of the top most causes of being involved in an accident.”
COMPLETE FINDINGS FOR THIS STUDY ARE IN THE JOURNAL “JAMA PEDIATRICS”
[VT/VO on Pathfire #9141]
Teens and Sleep from National Sleep Foundation
Sleep is food for the brain. During sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. Skipping sleep can be harmful — even deadly, particularly if you are behind the wheel. You can look bad, you may feel moody, and you perform poorly. Sleepiness can make it hard to get along with your family and friends and hurt your scores on school exams, on the court or on the field. Remember: A brain that is hungry for sleep will get it, even when you don’t expect it. For example, drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel cause more than 100,000 car crashes every year. When you do not get enough sleep, you are more likely to have an accident, injury and/or illness.
WHY ARE TEENS SO TIRED?
NATIONAL TEEN DRIVING STATISTICS:
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:
- In 2010, the latest year for which data are available, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death among 13-19 year-old males and females in the United States.
A total of 3,115 teenagers ages 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010. This is 64 percent fewer than in 1975 and 10 percent fewer than in 2009.
- Thirty-three percent of deaths among 13-19-year-olds occurred in motor vehicle crashes, 39 percent among females and 31 percent among males.
- 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.
- The crash rate per mile driven is twice as high for 16-year-olds as it is for 18- and 19-year-olds.
- About 2 out of every 3 teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2010 were males.
- In 2010, 58 percent of deaths among passenger vehicle occupants ages 16-19 were drivers.
- Fifty-nine percent of teenage passenger deaths in 2010 occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 17 percent occurred when a teenager was driving.
- Statistics show that 16- and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.
- Eighty-one percent of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2010 were passenger vehicle occupants. The others were pedestrians (9 percent), motorcyclists (4 percent), bicyclists (2 percent), riders of all-terrain vehicles (2 percent), and people in other kinds of vehicles (2 percent).
- Fifty-five percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers in 2010 occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
- In states with GDL programs that include at least five of the most important elements, there was a 20% reduction in fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers.
- In 2006 (latest data available) crashes involving 15- to 17-year-olds cost more than $34 billion nationwide in medical treatment, property damage and other costs, according to an AAA analysis.
- Teenage drivers and passengers are among those least likely to wear their seat belts.
- In 2009, 11 percent of the people who died in distracted driving crashes were teens 15 to 19 years old. Out of all the teens who died in crashes in 2009, 18 percent died in crashes that involved distracted driving. Fifteen percent of teen drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
- In 2008, 37 percent of male drivers ages 15-20 who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time.
- In 2010, 54 percent, or 1,532, of the 2,814 occupants of passenger vehicles age 16 to 20 who were killed in crashes were not buckled up.
- Among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-17, 16 percent of males and 13 percent of females in 2010 had BACs at or above 0.08 percent. Among fatally injured drivers ages 18-19, 31 percent of males and 22 percent of females had BACs at or above 0.08 percent.
Bottom Line for Young AND Old:
Be Well-Rested When You Get Behind-the-Wheel and Don’t Text & Drive!