NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — AAA says drowsy driving is to blame for one in five fatal crashes in the United States and now one government group is coming up with plans to help reduce the number of crashes.

A new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there are 1.2 million collisions every year because of drowsy driving, killing up to 8,000 people.

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The agency says steps need to be taken to prevent drowsy driving, including more signs warning people of the dangers. The group is also calling for more states to make laws that punish drivers who fall asleep at the wheel.

Technology may also help. Several automakers including Mercedes-Benz and Ford have systems that can read your steering habits and can detect when you are drowsy.

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“If people are reminded that they need to pull over and rest that’s certainly a good thing,” said Kelsey Mays, senior consumer affairs editor at

But Mays said people shouldn’t rely on their vehicle alone to wake them up.

“It’s important for you to recognize your own drowsiness before you get behind the wheel,” Mays said.

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Doing so could mean the difference between life and death.