1-in-10 admit napping behind the wheel

Jan. 29, 2004 at 1:10 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- More than 10 percent of drivers admit they have fallen asleep at the wheel in a new survey by Farmers Insurance.

The company asked 1,024 drivers if they had ever nodded off while driving a vehicle. More than one in 10 admitted to falling asleep at the wheel and nearly twice as many, 20.6 percent, said they had momentarily dozed off while driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates drowsiness and fatigue cause around 100,0000 accidents annually, resulting in 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries.

The insurance company estimated monetary losses from sleep-related accidents at $12.5 billion a year.

Three times as many men (15.9 percent) said they had fallen asleep while driving than women (5.8 percent). More than half of motorists surveyed (53.4 percent) admitted they had driven while drowsy, and 41.2 percent said they continued driving although they had to fight to stay awake.

Experts say the only way to combat drowsiness is to take a 20-minute nap.

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