Drowsy Driving Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving: Study

Drowsy Driving Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving: Study

You know not to get behind the wheel if you're not sober enough.

But what about if you're not awake enough?

Reuters first reported on a new study in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, on car accident factors in southwest France. The study showed there was no difference between driving sleepy or drunk. Both doubled the risk of causing a car accident.

The study included 679 people who were hospitalized because of a car accident between 2007 and 2009 in France. According to the study, men and younger adults were more likely to drive while sleepy.

The researchers wrote:

In conclusion, the main factors associated with being responsible for a crash resulting in serious injury were younger age and driving cars, but more important were alcohol ingestion and sleepiness at the wheel, which are synergic.

But even though the study was in France, driving drowsy isn't unique to the European nation. CNN reported on a AAA Foundation poll, the results of which came out last year, showing that one in three people said they drove while they were drowsy in the last 30-day period.

And earlier last year, a study came out of the Netherlands showing that night-driving for two hours is akin to driving while buzzed; driving for three hours at night is akin to being drunk, Wired reported.

In 2000, Australian researchers found that sleepy driving specifically messes with coordination, judgment and reaction time while driving, CNN reported.

Dr. Lisa Shives, M.D., of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Illinois and a "Chart" blogger for CNN, wrote:

Educating people to the dangers of drowsy driving is a key step in prevention. For example, did you know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 crashes that are reported to the police each year are the direct result of fatigue and sleepiness? And that is a conservative estimate because it is hard to pin down how many crashes are due to drowsiness.

For Shives' advice on how to avoid driving while sleepy, click on over to her piece on CNN.

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