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Drowsy driving more common in Texas

A new study found that one in 24 drivers in the U.S. admitted to falling asleep while driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials say that the number is probably much higher since many drivers are not aware that they have nodded off for a few seconds while driving.

The CDC study found that four percent of adult drivers said they had fallen asleep while driving during the past month. Drowsy driving is very dangerous and has been linked to causing three percent of all car accident fatalities every year, according to a government report.

The main findings of the study showed some individuals were more likely to fall asleep or nod off while driving. The CDC said that drowsy driving was more common in males, drivers between the age of 25 and 34, people who consistently got less than six hours of sleep a night and drivers in Texas.

The CDC was not surprised by these findings, except for the interesting data that showed that Texas drivers were more likely to fall asleep while driving. Researchers said that the findings could mean that the survey sample included more sleep-deprived or younger drivers that lived in Texas, which may have skewed the results.

Even if the finding that Texas drivers are more likely to drive drowsy was surprising to the CDC, it highlights an important safety issue that should be addressed by the state. Previous studies have said that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

National safety awareness campaigns have tried to stress the dangers and warning signs of drowsy driving, which include being very tired, not remembering the last mile driven or driving between lanes or into the shoulder.

The CDC said that drivers should be aware of the signs of drowsy driving and make sure they are not on the road when they are feeling too tired to drive safely. The CDC recommended that drivers get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night and make sure they treat any sleep-related disorders before driving.

Source: Caller, "US study: Drowsy driving most likely in Texas," Jan. 3, 2013

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