Dozing and Driving: 1 in 24 Asleep at Wheel

Officials suggest new study may actually underestimate true number of sleeping drivers.
2:24 | 01/04/13

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Transcript for Dozing and Driving: 1 in 24 Asleep at Wheel
alarming report about americans asleep at the wheel. The new research shows it's happening a lot more than you might thin to 1 in 24 adults. And the true numbers are likely higher because some people don't realize they're nodding off. Abc's ron claiborne is here with the debates. And wake-up call really applies here. Reporter: It does, george. It's happened to all of us at some point. We're convinced we can outrun our own fatigue and make it to our destination in our cars. But according to a new report by the cdc, many of us are fooling ourselves and dozing off on the road. Look at this astonishing video. A woman asleep at the wheel. Her car drifts from lane-to-lane. Eventually, she woke up and stopped. But what happened to that woman happens to a lot of us. The new cdc report found that 4.2% of more than 147,000 people interviewed, acknowledged they had fallen asleep while driving in the previous month. Every year, drowsy driving is blamed for more than 60,000 accidents. Sleep is such a powerful drive that if you really need it, the brain is going to say, aha, sleep. And that can be incredibly dangertuation. Reporter: Researchers say tired drivers are especially susceptible to something called microsleep, where they fall asleep for just a few seconds. It can happen in the blink of an eye. Reporter: To test the effects of driving without enough rest, last fall I stayed up 32 hours straight. And then, drove a minivan at a sleep research van closed track in massachusetts, while attached to a brain monitor. Just 20 minutes into the experiment, I had fallen asleep and driven off the road. But the truly shocking part came later, when I was shown the results of the brian monitor. I had fallen asleep 18 times and only remembered 2 of them. The cdc report says that's not unusual. That's why the incidents of drivers falling asleep behind the wheel is probably much higher than what they found. And the cdc says that motorists need to recognize the symptoms of drowsiness. For example, frequent blinking or yawning or drifting out of your lane. If that happens, pull over and rest. You're probably wondering, caffeine, it staves off the tiredness. But only for a while. Don't get close to that line. Now, to the highway patrol

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