Sleep deprivation giving rise to more automobile accidents -

Sleep deprivation giving rise to more automobile accidents

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ST. LOUIS ( – A fatal car accident in Mascoutah Wednesday may have been caused by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. Similarly, a car accident in Monroe County earlier this week was caused by a drowsy driver who lost control of her vehicle.

Research shows that 21 percent of fatal crashes involve a tired driver, and one-third of all accidents involve a drowsy driver. A local organization is taking measures to help drivers make educated decisions.

Matt Uhles with the Clayton Sleep Institute spoke with teenagers at a safe driving seminar. He admonished the young drivers about the dangers of driving while sleep deprived. The presentation included a firsthand accounts from families who lost a loved one because the fell asleep behind the wheel.

Local accidents are not the only examples of drowsy driving. Last summer actor Tracy Morgan was in an accident that reportedly involved a sleep-deprived driver. In March an operator of a commuter train fell asleep before it derailed in Chicago, injuring 30.

“Your brain will try to convince you [that] you are more alert and awake than you [really] are,” said Uhles.

According to Illinois State trooper Calvin Dye, there is no quick fix such as an energy drink or coffee. He said statistics and studies have proven that rest is key, even a 20 to 30 minute nap.

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