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Little Sleep Turns into Big Problems on the Road

iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- There’s yet another reason why it’s important to get enough shut eye each night -- one that could literally be a lifesaver.

A study out of the University of Pennsylvania’s med school says that less than six hours of sleep is a major contributor to drowsy driving, which is responsible for 15 to 33 percent of all fatal car accidents in the U.S.

Drowsy drivers are more prone to fall asleep at the wheel and Michael Grandner, one of the study authors, believes it could be more of a problem than motorists who drive under the influence.

Based on a survey of adults 18 and over, so-called “short sleepers” who doze six hours or less are twice as likely to report drowsy driving than people who get seven hours of sleep.

“Very short sleepers,” those who sleep five or fewer hours, were four times more prone to becoming drowsy drivers.

Making matters worse is that even when short or very short sleepers claim they’re well rested, they’re still more apt to drive in an impaired state, a leading cause of serious crashes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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