Drunk drivers and texting teenagers are bad enough, but the latest report from the federal government shows that sleepy drivers are putting us all at risk, also. Fully 4 percent of drivers surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confessed to having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past month. Drowsy driving plays a role in as many as 7,500 fatal crashes — 25 percent of all crashes — CDC’s Dr. Anne Wheaton and colleagues wrote in the CDC’s weekly report.
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Drowsy drivers who don’t fall all the way asleep can still cause accidents, by missing exits or drifting out of their lanes, Wheaton’s team wrote. Drinking’s still the biggest single cause of road deaths, however.
“In 2012, nearly one third (10,322) of the 33,561 traffic fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes,” the CDC team wrote. “In addition, half of vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seatbelts.”
First published July 3 2014, 11:36 AM
Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com, writing top news on health policy, medical treatments and disease.
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She's a former managing editor for healthcare and technology at National Journal and global health and science editor for Reuters based in Washington, D.C. and London.
She's reported for news agencies, radio, newspapers, magazines and television from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe covering news ranging from war to politics and, of course, health and science. Her reporting has taken Maggie to Lebanon, Syria and Libya; to China, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan; to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and to Ireland and Northern Ireland and across the rest of Europe.
Maggie has won awards from the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Immunization Program, the Overseas Press Club and other organizations. She's done fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.