A federal study of Washington area drivers has found that 80% of automobile crashes involve drivers that were either distracted within seconds of the wreck, or were drowsy at the time. The study involved 100 vehicles equipped with cameras and sensors for about one year. Over 43,000 hours of data were recorded and gave real time access to the actions and state of drivers just before a collision.
The study included 241 different drivers. There were 82 crashes, 761 near crahses, and over 8,000 incidents requiring some form of evasive maneuver. 20% of the crashes were attributed to driver drowsiness, which was more prevalent during mornings. Drivers aged 18-20 were four times more likely to be involved in a inattention-related accident. Cellphones were the most common distraction for all age groups.
Inattentive drivers, it turns out, contribute to 3 times more automobile collisions than the government had previously estimated.