As awareness campaigns continue to focus on distracted driving and drunk driving, the dangers of drowsy driving and driver fatigue often go unreported. However, what many fail to realize, is that drowsy driving is the third-leading cause of impairment-related crashes, accounting for 6,000 fatal accidents in 2016 alone.
According to Patch, Texas has been hit the hardest by drowsy driving, with one in every five exhaustion-related traffic deaths being recorded in Texas in 2016.
While one may attribute the large number of fatigued driving deaths to Texas’s large population, the truth is much more complex. In fact, Texans are estimated to be four times more likely than Californians to die in a drowsy driving accident, despite California’s population exceeding that of Texas by more than 10 million residents.
Researchers are still working to understand the variables that contribute to Texas’s high drowsy driving death rate, but they have made some important discoveries along the way.
One is that drowsy driving deaths occur 6.8 times more often in rural areas of Texas than in urban areas, pointing to “highway hypnosis” as a possible factor. Researchers have also noted that drowsy driving deaths are more likely to occur on Sunday and Monday mornings between 5:00 and 6:00 am.
Finally, drowsy driving deaths also peak in June, suggesting later nights may be resulting in sleepier mornings.
The following information was provided by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):
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