Drivers aged between 17 and 24 are up to 20% more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident when they’re sleep deprived, according to new survey carried out among drivers in New South Wales. Over 19,000 respondents were used in the study, which asked about sleep habits and hours spent driving. The researchers then tracked the participants for a period of two years, while cross-referencing against police records on traffic accidents.
It was found that of the respondents who reported a regular night’s sleep of less than six hours, 9.4% were involved in a crash. Among the respondents who said that they slept for more than six hours every night just 6.9% experienced an accident. The researchers took various other factors as well as age into account, including the times of day spent on the road, previous crash history and driving behaviour.
While the findings of this particular study focus on the risks for younger drivers, the issue of sleep deprivation and ‘drowsy driving’ isn’t confined to under-24s. Earlier studies and clinical tests have shown that when it comes to reduced driving ability through lack of sleep there’s no age limit, and everyone is susceptible to the dangers to some degree.
The findings of the NSW study were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
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