Drowsy driving is involved in more than 21 percent of all fatal accidents, according to the organization's Foundation for Traffic Safety, which says that, to this point, the number of traffic deaths pinned on tired drivers has been significantly underreported.
Previous research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published three years ago found that fatigued driving was involved in roughly 2.5 percent of all fatal crashes. AAA says the wide discrepancy can be blamed on the fact some drivers are unaware their driving performance was impaired by fatigue and, if they are aware, they may not be willing to admit that to accident investigators.
AAA estimates drowsy driving is responsible for 6,400 deaths a year.
"Like other impairments, driving while drowsy is not without risk," said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety. "... Unfortunately, drivers often underestimate this risk and overestimate their ability to combat drowsiness behind the wheel."
Some automakers are investing in technology that measures driver drowsiness, and warns drivers when their attention is starting to wander from the road. Check out the video below to see how Mercedes-Benz is addressing the problem: