Katie Couric's Notebook: Drowsy Driving

How many times have we jokingly referred to someone being asleep at the wheel? That's not just a common expression. It's a deadly problem.

Triple-A analyzed highway accident records from 1999 to 2008 and found that drowsy drivers were a factor in one out of every six fatal crashes.

16-24 year-olds were more likely than older drivers to fall asleep. Men were more likely than women to do so, but the statistics show it's a much bigger problem for all groups than previous estimates indicated.

41 percent of drivers admit to having nodded off at the wheel some time in their lives. 11 percent said it happened in the past year. and As unbelievable as this sounds, some said they were asleep for over a minute!

Of course, even a few seconds is too long. Triple-A calculates drowsy drivers cause almost five thousand deaths every year ... a figure that should be a startling wake up call for all of us.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.

  • Katie Couric

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