The scope and nature of the drowsy driving problem in New York State

Accid Anal Prev. 1996 Jul;28(4):511-17. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(96)00021-8.


A telephone survey was conducted of a random sample of New York State licensed drivers to determine the prevalence and circumstances of drowsy driving. Based on the survey responses, 54.6% of the drivers had driven while drowsy within the past year; 22.6% had ever fallen asleep at the wheel without having a crash, 2.8% had ever crashed when they fell asleep, and 1.9% had crashed when driving while drowsy. Of the reported crashes due to driving while drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel, 82.5% involved the driver alone in the vehicle, 60.0% occurred between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. 47.5% were drive-off-road crashes, and 40.0% occurred on a highway or expressway. Multiple regression analysis suggested that the following driver variables are predictive of an increased frequency of driving drowsy: demographic characteristics (younger drivers, more education, and men); sleep patterns (fewer hours of sleep at night and greater frequency of trouble staying awake during the day); work patterns (greater frequency of driving for job and working rotating shifts); and driving patterns (greater number of miles driven annually and fewer number of hours a person can drive before becoming drowsy).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Stages*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Work Schedule Tolerance