From The Washington Post:
Drivers who have had too little sleep are no different than those who have had three or four drinks and are too drunk to drive.
Those are the findings of an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report released Tuesday that draws on original research and past studies to create a troubling picture of the risk caused by a go-go world where many people don’t get enough rest.
About 35 percent of people get fewer than the needed seven hours of sleep, and 12 percent say they sleep for five hours or less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Earlier research by AAA Foundation showed that 21 percent of fatal crashes involved a sleep-deprived driver. The group’s new work uses data from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey to delve into how much driving ability decreases based on varying lack of sleep.
Not surprisingly, the less sleep, the higher the risk of a crash.
“You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel,” said David Yang, executive director for the foundation. “Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.”
People who pride themselves on their ability to function on less sleep than the recommended seven-plus hours will contend otherwise, but the foundation used a sample of 4,571 crashes in which police determined a cause to conclude that those non-sleepers are wrong.
Read more here.