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Is The Driver Next To You Asleep At The Wheel?

Quite possibly, according to a recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC surveyed almost 150,000 adults; 1 in 24 admitted to falling asleep while behind the wheel.

There are conflicting estimates on the effects of drowsy drivers. The government estimates that about 3 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents involve sleepy drivers. However, other studies have placed the blame for up to 33 percent of fatal accidents squarely on over-tired drivers.

Dozing off for just one second while driving 60 mph means that you traveled about 88 feet without even knowing it. That translates to the length of about two school buses, placed end to end.

Those most likely to drive when too tired to do so, according to the CDC, are adults between 25 and 34, men, those who sleep less than six hours per night and Texans. Perhaps that last one is good news for those in Florida, but not for anyone around Miami who may travel to or have family in Texas.

Florida's You Snooze You Lose Campaign

Ronshay was just eight years old when she was killed by a drowsy driver. She suffered fatal head trauma when a drowsy cement truck driver slammed into the Boys and Girls Club bus that she was riding in.

In 2010, Florida passed the Ronshay Dugan Act, creating an annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week to raise awareness about the dangers of tired driving. Florida's "You Snooze, You Lose" campaign is aimed at keeping drowsy drivers off the road by raising awareness of the dangers of tired driving and warning signs for drivers who may be too tired to drive safely.

Source: Boston.com, "CDC: 1 in 24 admit nodding off while driving," January 3, 2012

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