WHAT TYPES OF PEOPLE ARE MOST AT RISK FOR DROWSY DRIVING?

A diverse group of people are actually at risk for driving while they are tired in Tennessee. While other forms of distracted driving often get more coverage in the media, drowsy driving is a huge problem and likely the cause of many accidents. In fact, according to a recent report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, there are approximately 328,000 crashes caused by drowsy driving in the country each year.

If you work in the health care field, you are in one of the professions that are most likely to experience episodes of drowsy driving. Two-thirds of nurses who work shifts longer than eight hours report feeling tired while driving and medical residents in their first year are 9.1 percent more likely to be in a crash after working an overnight shift. Other types of employees who work shifts or at night are also at risk since their sleep cycles are disrupted and the quality of their sleep lessens, leaving them more tired throughout the day.

Emergency workers are another group that is at risk for being too tired to drive. In addition to working shifts, you may also work overtime hours if you are in law enforcement or are some other form of emergency responder. One study found that 46 percent of police officers in North America have fallen asleep behind the wheel.

However, you are perhaps most likely to fall asleep while driving if you are a young adult. In fact, more than 50 percent of crashes caused by drowsy driving involve drivers under the age of 26. While many teenagers do not get enough sleep, the problem seems to get worse in college due to academic stress and an unhealthy attachment to their smartphones. Finally, other groups that are at risk for drowsy driving include truck drivers, new parents and people with medical disorders such as sleep apnea.

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