Monday, 26 June 2017

Drowsy Driving: Worse Than Drunk Driving?

Drivers who sleep less than five hours are as dangerous on the road as drunk drivers, a new study has found

Drivers losing out on a good night's sleep are as dangerous as drunk drivers on the road. Those are the findings of a new study into the effects of tiredness on motorists.
According to the study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, losing out on just a few hours of sleep the night before puts drivers at nearly twice the risk of crashing compared to those who’ve slept the recommended seven or more hours.
The study found that a lack of sleep has similar effects to being drunk, with slower reaction times and a shorter attention span. The Sleep Council estimates that a third of Britons get just five to six hours of sleep a night, putting them at 1.9 times the normal risk of crashing.
Image result for sleep driving
Reviewing the causes of 4,751 vehicle accidents in the US, the research found that driver drowsiness has caused seven per cent of all crashes and 21 per cent of all fatal accidents. In the UK, driver fatigue has been linked as a contributory factor in one in ten road fatalities.

Level of sleep

Risk of crashing
6-7 hours
1.3 times normal risk
5-6 hours
1.9 times normal risk
4-5 hours
4.3 times normal risk
Less than 4 hours
11.5 times normal risk

Jake Nelson is AAA’s director for traffic safety and advocacy and research.
“Teenagers, older adults and people who have a sleep debt are among the highest risk groups,” Nelson said. “One in five crashes where somebody dies in that crash involves a driver who was drowsy or hadn’t earned enough sleep the night before.”
In the new study, AAA found sleep-deprived drivers are almost twice as likely to be involved in an accident when they get five to six hours of sleep, more than four times as likely with four to five hours and nearly 12 times more likely to crash with less than four hours of sleep.
“Driving with having only earned four to five hours of sleep in a 24-hour period can be just as impairing as driving legally drunk,” Nelson said.
“How aware do you think people are of this?” Barnett asked.
“Not aware at all and I think that that’s really the punchline,” Nelson said.
Beyond that recommended seven hours of sleep for drivers, AAA said passengers can play a role in preventing drowsy driving too, by making sure the driver is alert and offering to take turns driving if the driver appears fatigued.


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