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AAA: More Young Drivers Falling Asleep At The Wheel

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Traffic drives on Interstate 25 on Oct. 2, 2012 in Denver, Colo. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Traffic drives on Interstate 25 on Oct. 2, 2012 in Denver, Colo. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – New research has found that an increasing number of teenagers are falling asleep at the wheel of their cars.

The study, conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, learned that one out of every seven licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 confessed to nodding off at least once in the last year while driving.

The number is especially alarming when compared to another survey that determined that a mere one in ten of all licensed drivers of all ages occasionally nod off while behind the wheel, according to The Car Connection.

The new findings contribute to an already prevalent stigma labeling teenage drivers as universally unsafe.

The perception may not be entirely unfounded — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington, D.C. released data indicating that the youngest age group for licensed drivers is 78 percent more likely to be tired when in a car accident than a driver of 40 to 49 years of age.

The NHTSA further asserted that driving while tired is one of the leading contributing factors in a car accident, as one in six fatal collisions have included drowsiness as a factor, according to the AAA.

“Unfortunately, most drivers underestimate the risks associated with drowsy driving and overestimate their ability to deal with it,” AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger was quoted as saying in a release obtained by The Car Connection. “That’s a dangerous combination.”

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