Prevalence of motor vehicle crashes involving drowsy drivers, United States, 1999-2008
The proportion of motor vehicle crashes that involve a drowsy driver likely is greater than existing crash databases reflect, due to the possibility that some drivers whose pre-crash state of attention was unknown may have been drowsy. This study estimated the proportion of crashes that involved a drowsy driver in a representative sample of 47,597 crashes in the United States from 1999 through 2008 that involved a passenger vehicle that was towed from the scene. Multiple imputation was used to address missing data on driver drowsiness. In the original (non-imputed) data, 3.9% of all crashes, 7.7% of non-fatal crashes that resulted in hospital admission, and 3.6% of fatal crashes involved a driver coded as drowsy; however, the drowsiness status of 45% of drivers was unknown. In the imputed data, an estimated 7.0% of all crashes (95% confidence interval: 4.6%, 9.3%), 13.1% of non-fatal crashes that resulted in hospital admission (95% confidence interval: 8.8%, 17.3%), and 16.5% of fatal crashes (95% confidence interval: 12.5%, 20.6%) involved a drowsy driver. Results suggest that the prevalence of fatal crashes that involve a drowsy driver is over 350% greater than has been reported previously.
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