July 10, 2018

Influence of drowsiness in traffic accidents in Spain

by tpcoto in Xesol Biometrics

Drowsiness is one of the causes of the high number of accidents in Spain, with generally tragic consequences. The Línea Directa Foundation published a year ago a study carried out in collaboration with the Spanish Foundation for Road Safety (FESVIAL – Fundación Española para la Seguridad Vial) performed between the 2011 and 2015.

The objective of the study is to know the influence of drowsiness in traffic accidents. Drowsiness is an accident cause poorly analyzed, since it is often included within distraction statistics (causing more than 35% of accidents).

These accidents usually are critical loss, with lack of braking and defensive movements by the driver.

Drowsiness is an intermediate stage between wakefulness and sleep, although this can also be caused by chronic disorders or by a specific reason, as drug intake.

Among its effects at the wheel, lower reaction capacity, distraction increase, reduced capacity for information processing and decision-making can be mentioned.

Driver monitoring systems, as active safety elements, would undoubtedly help to reduce these accidents, since they warn the driver when symptoms of fatigue and microsleep episodes appear.

The results show really alarming figures:

  • The 55% of drivers accept that they force themselves and keep driving despite suffering from drowsiness.
  • 800 deaths in accidents due to drowsiness in five years. This means an average of more than three dead people in our country every week.
  • Drowsiness double the risk of dying in a road accident.
  • 65% of drivers have felt drowsiness sometime, and 7.8% many times.
  • 2% admit having fallen in microsleeps (nods).


Source: Línea Directa Foundation.

With these statistics, once again it is clear that driver monitoring systems are very important when fighting against this cause of accidents.

We also want to remember that drowsy driving mimics drunk driving.

The summary of the study can be downloaded here.