The Atlanta DUI News Blog

New Study: Driving Drowsy as Dangerous as Driving Drunk

According to a new study, driving drowsy can be as dangerous as driving drunk, Reuters reports.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that both drunk drivers and tired drivers were at least twice as likely to get into an accident as sober and well-rested drivers. Will DWS (Driving While Sleepy) be against the law one day?

The study, conducted by Dr. Nicholas Moore at the Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Bordeaux in France, compiled information from 679 drivers who had been hospitalized as a result of car accidents from 2007 to 2009. Moore found that drinking alcohol, being tired, and being between the ages of 18 and 19 all increased the risk of an accident.

According to Christopher Drake, a scientist at the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders and Research Center, the study is old news, but interesting. "We know from experimental studies that just four hours of sleep loss will produce as much impairment as a six pack," Drake told Reuters. "If you have a whole night of sleep loss, that's equivalent to having a blood alcohol content of 0.19.

A blood alcohol level of 0.19 is over twice the legal limit in Georgia. Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher in the state will get you a maximum fine of $1,000, up to 12 months in prison, community service, and a mandatory drug and alcohol use reduction course.

As for the DWS offense, Drake thinks it would be too hard to enforce. "There is no breathalyzer for sleepiness," he told Reuters.

According to Dr. Nicholas Moore, the best ways to avoid a sleep-related accident are to take a nap or drink some coffee before driving. Blasting the radio or cranking the AC are no substitute for sleep, Moore said.

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