Much has been written about the dangers of drinking and driving – and for good reason. Alcohol dramatically affects a driver’s ability to operate a car or truck. Those effects include:
- Reduced reaction time
- Impaired vision
- Feeling relaxed and drowsy
- Reduced concentration
- Difficulty doing several tasks at once
Interestingly, researchers now report that drivers who are sleep deprived are as dangerous as drivers who have had three or four drinks before getting behind the wheel.
Put another way – a drowsy driver is essentially a drunk driver.
What’s more, sleep deprivation is considered a serious public health problem in Connecticut and around the country. It’s estimated that 35% of the adult population in the U.S. gets fewer than seven hours of sleep a night and that 12% get less than five.
Why do we think driving when tired is a problem?
Recent research from the AAA indicates that 31% of all fatal crashes involve drowsy drivers.
AAA researchers suggest that any driver who’s had less than five hours of sleep presents a risk to others equal to that of a drunk driver.
In fact, one AAA spokesperson stressed that driving with less than four hours of sleep is comparable to the crash risk associated with a driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.12-0.15. The legal limit for adults in Connecticut is 0.08
Interestingly – the AAA also reports that while 97% of drivers admit that driving while drowsy is dangerous, more than 30% of all drivers in the study admit they’d driven in the last month when they were so drowsy they had trouble keeping their eyes open.
The lesson to learn from this data is simple…
Don’t operate a motor vehicle if you have not gotten adequate sleep. This warning particularly applies to long haul truck drivers, medical personnel and, believe it or not – police officers.
And talk to your teenage drivers about the risks as well. Younger drivers have a tendency to think they are indestructible – sleep or no sleep. As we all know – that is a dangerous belief.
If you’re ever injured in a car accident of any kind, know that the Connecticut car accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting drivers injured in accidents for over 60 years. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever in a car accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut car accident lawyers, please contact us. There is no obligation.
Photo credit: CountyLemonade via Foter.com / CC BY