NHTSA estimates drowsy driving causes 8,000 crashes a year

(WPRI) — Experts say it is difficult to track the precise numbers for drowsy driving statistics but estimate up to 8,000 people a year die from falling asleep at the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also stated that drowsy driving causes 1.2 million accidents a year.

Kerrie Warne lost her son Tyler in a car crash six years ago. She was shocked when police told her that he fell asleep at the wheel.

“I never once talked to him about drowsy driving,” Warne recalled.

More signs warning people of the potential dangers is one way the NHTSA said they want to use to lower drowsy driving.

Technology may also help increase awareness — several automakers, including Mercedes and Ford, have systems that read steering habits and can detect when you are drowsy.

“If people are reminded that they need to pull over and rest that’s a certainly a good thing,” said Kelsey Mays, the senior Consumer Affairs Editor of CARS.com.

Although Mays does not want drivers to rely on their cars alone.

Mays explained, “It is important that you recognize the signs of your own drowsiness before you really get behind the wheel.”