Friday, October 24th, 2014

2007 State of the States Report on Drowsy Driving


Executive Summary of the State of the States Report

The problem of drowsy driving is significant. Statistics show that 100,000 police-reported crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths occur due to drowsy driving each year in the United States. However, it is believed that these statistics significantly underestimate the problem due to, among other things, the lack of data collection codes within police crash report forms and the lack of training of police officers. This report found all states now address fatigue and/or sleep in some manner within their crash report forms. However, the report shows that these codes are inconsistent. It also found that police officers are not being trained on how fatigue affects driving performance.

One significant problem with the issue of drowsy driving is the lack of enforcement mechanisms for the worst offenders. This report found that for the vast majority of states responding (40 out of 44), individuals could be charged under existing statutes for causing a fatality in a sleep-related crash (2 states responded that it would be at the discretion of the law enforcement officer or the prosecutor).

Education about drowsy driving has generally not been considered a priority in most jurisdictions. This report found that the vast majority of states include information about fatigue or drowsy driving within their driver licensing manuals. However, in many cases this information was misleading or minimal.

Graduated driver licensing systems have increasingly been used as a means to address the nationwide epidemic of young people dying in automobile crashes. One component of these systems is curfews for newly licensed drivers. This report found that the vast majority of states include such curfews. However, in most cases, these curfews do not start until midnight or later.

This report found that every state includes regulations that limit a person’s right to drive due to certain medical conditions, with nearly 30% of states directly considering sleep disorders.

Read the full report.