Sleep Deprivation Just As Deadly as Driving While Drunk

Sleep before driving Just as important as Driving while Sober

You would never drive drunk, but it’s no big deal driving if you’re a few hours short of the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, right? Wrong. One study showed that driving drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. In this study one of participants when 28 hours without sleep; the other group of participants were given on alcoholic beverage every 30 minutes. The hand-eye coordination of both sets of participants were tested and the sleep-deprived participants’ test results were as bad as the participants whose blood alcohol level was 0.5.

Sleep deprivation can cause significant mental and physical deficiencies. It is estimated that in 1998 over 24,000 deaths could be attributed to accidents that resulted from sleep deprivation. In that same year there were also nearly 2.5 million accidents where the reduced mental and physical alertness resulting from lack of sleep occurred.

A 1996 review found evidence supporting the conclusion that the following catastrophries occurred due to personnel suffering from sleep deprivation:

· Exxon Valdez oil spill

· Challenger space shuttle explosion

· Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident (costing over 50,000 lives)

· Three Mile Island nuclear reactor incident

· Peach Bottom nuclear reactor incident

According to the Traffic Research Center sleep deprivation affects performance in the following manner:

· Slower reaction time

· Decrease in concentration levels

· Disorder in information processing

Many of us think of eight hours of sleep as a luxury, but after reading about the harmful effects of sleep deprivation I would hope that we now think of it as necessity.

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