Nodding Off While Driving

Overall, 37% of the driving population says they have nodded off for at least a moment or fallen asleep while driving at some time in their life. Males (49%) are almost twice as likely to report having nodded off while driving than are female drivers (26%).
Not surprisingly, newer drivers (i.e. those under age 21) who have had less time driving overall, are only half as likely to have experienced nodding off while driving (18%) as older drivers. And, just as drivers over age 64 are less likely to undertake behaviors that are potentially distracting, these drivers are also less likely to have nodded off while driving (30%). [Figure 13-A]

Recency of Drowsy Driving

While 37% of drivers have nodded off while driving at some point in their lives, approximately three out of ten (29%) of these drivers report that they last experienced this problem within the past year, with just one in ten (10%) saying this happened to them within the past month. This amounts to about 4% of the driving population or an estimated 7.5 million drivers who have nodded off while driving within the past month. An additional 4% of drivers (11% of those who have ever nodded off at the wheel) report having done so within the past two to six months. [Figure 13-B]

By Gender and Age

About 22% of male drivers who have nodded off at the wheel report having done so within the past month as compared to 19% of their female counterparts.

While drivers under age 21 are only half as likely to have had an experience of falling asleep while driving, slightly more than four of ten (44%) of those report having this experience within the past six months. [Figure 13-D]