Fed study: Snorers doze off driving twice as much as non-snorers

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Transportation,Health,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,CDC

Snoring isn’t just hazardous to your marriage.

In one of the more interesting federal studies that landed in the Secrets in box, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that snoring also boosts the chances of falling asleep while driving, responsible for 7,500 fatal motor vehicle crashes a year, a quarter of the nation's highway deaths.

In a study of 92,102 people, the Feds found that 4 percent admit to falling asleep while driving. But for snorers, it was 5.6 percent. For non-snorers, just 2.6 percent “self-reported” nodding off behind the wheel.

As a result, the CDC backed technology still mostly in expensive cars that sounds an alarm when the driver’s eyes close.

The report, “Drowsy Driving and Risk Behaviors -- 10 States and Puerto Rico, 2011-2012,” also found other contributors such as booze and lack of sleep for sleep-driving.

For example, where people live made a difference. Just 1.8 percent of those in Oregon admitted to driving while sleeping, while 7.4 percent in Puerto Rico said they do it. Binge drinkers sleep while driving too, 5.2 percent compared to 3.7 percent of non-binge drinkers.

One surprise: The older the driver, the less they fall asleep behind the wheel. Nearly 6 percent of adults age 18-24 nod off, compared to 1.8 percent for those over 65.

The CDC recommended new technology in cars and even rumble strips to help keep drivers awake. The Centers also recommended that drivers get seven-eight hours of sleep.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.