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Driving While Sleepy

Is Driving While Sleepy Impaired Driving?

impaired driving while sleepy

According to experts driving while sleepy is a form of impaired driving that is similar to driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs. The Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety at Queensland University of Technology, located in Australia, recently performed a study on sleepy driving and the risks involved, and the study showed that driving while sleepy was much more common in people under the age of 30 in spite of the risk of impaired driving. According to Chris Watling, a researcher who studies road safety, “Research shows a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent has the same effect as being awake for 17 hours, and a BAC of 0.1 percent is roughly 20 hours, but drivers don’t consider the impairment to be the same. In Queensland, 20 percent of the state’s fatal crashes were attributed to drunk driving and an estimated 15 percent to fatigued driving, although incidence rates of sleep-related crashes are often more difficult to pinpoint because of the absence of an objective test.”

Watling further explained the study on driving while sleepy and impaired driving by saying “Given younger drivers are over-represented in crash statistics and more likely to be impaired by sleepiness, it is vital we look to increase their perception of the dangers of driving while sleepy. The positive take-home message is that these results reflect the efforts of sustained drink-driving enforcement and community education campaigns that have changed social norms and reduced the acceptability of drink driving. However, it also highlights a greater need to increase all drivers’ perceptions of the dangers of sleepy driving. Unlike drinking alcohol, sleep is a vital human need. Everyone has to sleep and no single person is immune to the effect of sleepiness —the impairment from sleepiness needs to be respected in the same way as the impairment from drink driving.”