DWS: Driving While Sleepy is as bad as being drunk

NBC's Dateline broadcast a segment in July that compared the driving skills of individuals who were legally inebriated with the driving skillsof individuals who were sleep deprived. Sixteen volunteers participated, each driving the course under normal situations prior to experiencingsleep deprivation or alcohol intake. The test was conducted by Dr. Nelson Powell, a surgeon and co- director of the Standford Sleep Disorders Center.

There was a dramatic difference in the eight drivers who drove the course sober and then drove the course legally drunk. It seems the drunk drivers knocked down eight times as many cones as when sober. The eight sleepy volunteers were divided into two groups, four who stayed up all night the night before and four who got two to three hours of sleep per night for several nights before the test.

Dr. Powell's results showed that the sleepy drivers performed just as poorly as the drunk drivers. The broadcast offered a test for the viewers that can be accessed at NBC's Web site: www.msnbc.com

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