BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- In the past month, more than a quarter of all drivers reported being so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open while on the road, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The number of tired drivers is even more pronounced when broken down by age: a third of drivers ages 19 to 24 admit to driving while drowsy. The people least likely to drive tired were the oldest and youngest drivers, with 22 percent of both age groups, 16- to 18-year-olds and those over 75, having done so in the last month.
Yet while a portion of drivers admit to doing so while tired, the same study found that 95 percent of the 2,300 people polled believe it is "somewhat" or "completely unacceptable" to be sleepy and drive at the same time. And more than 80 percent of survey respondents said they believe drowsy drivers pose a "somewhat" or "very serious" threat to their own personal safety.
"Drowsy driving remains a significant threat to the motoring public, with many drivers underestimating the problem of driving while extremely tired, and overestimating their ability to deal with it," said Lloyd P. Albert, senior vice president of public and government affairs at AAA Southern New England, in a statement.
In 2010, the foundation estimated that 17 percent of fatal crashes and 13 percent of crashes where someone is sent to the hospital involved a drowsy driver.
AAA identified a number of warning signs that may signify driving while drowsy, including an inability to recall the last few miles traveled, accidentally tailgating other vehicles, missing traffic signs, and having difficulty focusing.