Authorities suspect that driver fatigue may have played a role in a fiery truck accident that caused massive traffic backups on I-10 EB in Phoenix near Ray Road yesterday. The crash closed several lanes and traffic was backed up for hours on I-10. Fortunately, there were no fatalities reported.

New Study on “Drowsy Driving”

The AAA Foundation has released a new report about crash risk and a lack of sleep. According to their study, drowsy driving is involved in an estimated 21% of all fatal crashes. The risk of a crash rises significantly with only one to two hours of sleep less than the recommended average of seven hours of sleep per night.

Sleeping less than five hours a night and then getting behind the wheel is as dangerous as driving while drunk, according to the study.

Most of us know the risks of getting behind the wheel after drinking. Designating a driver or using services such as Uber have become common, especially around the holidays. Many of us don’t know that driving on a lack of sleep can also be dangerous and could put you and your family at risk.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says drivers who get just five to six hours of sleep the night before are about twice as likely to get into an accident as those who slept seven hours or more. If you get only 5-6 hours of sleep a night and your body is “used” to it, it doesn’t mean that you are not at risk. There is a direct correlation between the amount of sleep you get and your crash risk.

Who is at risk?

A National Sleep Foundation study showed that adults 18-29 are more likely to drive while drowsy. Men are more likely than women (56% vs. 45%). Adults with children in the house are more likely to drive while drowsy (59% v. 45%) than those without children.

Anything that causes possible impairment while driving, whether it’s alcohol intoxication or sleep deprivation is dangerous. Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is beneficial in many ways for your overall health.

Yesterday’s big rig crash on I-10 in Phoenix could be a lesson for everyone if drowsy driving were a factor.