NIOSH logo and tagline

NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Drowsy Driving

A car damaged from an accident on the side of the road with broken glass, a smashed driver side door and fender

According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety,1 people who sleep 6 to 7 hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a sleep-related crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more. People sleeping less than 5 hours increase their risk four to five times.

The American Nurses Association 2011 Health & Safety Survey found that 1 in 10 nurses reported they were involved in an automobile accident that they believe was related to fatigue from shift work.2

Most crashes or near misses due to drowsy driving occur between 4 and 6 a.m.

Other peak times are midnight to 2 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.

If you are driving at these times, be aware of your state of mind as well as the behavior of other drivers on the road. They may be drowsy!

Almost 5% of drivers in 12 states reported falling asleep while driving in the past month.3

In addition to the risk of sustaining personal injuries or death, drowsy-driving crashes can result in high personal and economic costs.

  • Drowsy driving incidents have resulted in jail sentences for the drivers.4,5
  • The courts have awarded multi-million-dollar settlements to families of crash victims and have penalized the drowsy drivers as well as their employers.6-8
Module:11, Page 2 of 7