BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) – Drowsy driving may be more of a problem than once thought.
Official stats from the Federal Government indicate that 1 or 2 percent of accidents results from drowsy driving.
However, hew research released Thursday by AAA Foundation finds that the number of crashes involving drifting off behind the wheel is much bigger and a cause for major concern.
According to the report, researchers continuously monitored more than 3,500 people from six locations across the U.S. for several months between October 2010 and December 2013, using in-vehicle cameras and other equipment.
Of 701 crashes the researchers studied, drowsiness was a factor in 8.8 to 9.5 percent.
They found that "Sleepiness was also a factor in 10.6 to 10.8-percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage, airbag deployment or injury," in a release.
Mary Maquire of AAA Northeast says driving drowsy is equal to having a few drinks and affects almost all drivers at one time or another.
"One of the findings is that 35-percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended 7 hours per night, and college students and young people are vulnerable, " Maquire said.
Though one may think this is a problem only at night, only about 25-percent of drowsy driving crashes occur in the dark almost 70-percent of crashes occurred during daylight hours.
WBZ NewsRadio1030’s Ben Parker Reports