Saturday, June 2, 2012

Study: Tired Drivers as Dangerous as Drunk Drivers

Posted on behalf of Daniel Clayton in Car Accidents
Although a lot of attention is given to the dangers associated with drunk driving, a recent study has found that drowsy driving is just as dangerous.
The Archives of Internal Medicine published a study which looked at data from hospital patients who had been admitted into care for more than 24 hours after getting into a motor vehicle accident. Police reports, blood alcohol levels and patient questionnaires were also analyzed. Specifically, patients were asked questions related to how tired they were before getting in an accident. They were also asked whether or not they were taking any medications.
In this study, a main focus was the effect of a driver taking a medication that carries a warning about side effects that could affect a person's driving ability. Surprising to the researchers was that those on these types of medications actually had a lower risk for causing an accident. The lead researcher said this could be due to the fact that people taking these medications are more cautious since they know about the possible side effects.
However, when it came to being drunk or sleepy, the study found that both factors make a driver at least twice as likely to cause an accident. Of course, this can result in injuries to not only the driver, but also other people who are also out on the roadways.
The study analyzed data from 679 drivers who were in accidents.  According to the study, around half of those drivers were the ones responsible for causing the crashes. Of those, it was determined that those between the ages of 18 and 29 who had either been drinking or were tired had an increased risk of being the one to cause an actual accident.
What this means for the general public is that it's important to make sure to obviously never drive after drinking, but to also take driving tired just as serious. This means that if you are tired, take a short nap or drink some coffee - and wait for it to kick in - before driving. Realize, however, that caffeine will wear off!
Additionally, remember things like rolling down the window, turning on the air conditioning or blasting loud music masks how tired you are, but does not take away the risk of getting into an accident.
I had previously written about how up to 31% of Truck/Bus Accidents were caused by driver fatigue.
Source: Reuters, "Sleepy, drunk driver equally dangerous: study," Andrew Seaman, May 30, 2012

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