Prolonged nocturnal driving can be as dangerous as severe alcohol-impaired driving.
Journal of Sleep Research. 2011-01-12; 20(4): 585-588
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1. J Sleep Res. 2011 Dec;20(4):585-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2010.00901.x. Epub
2011 Jan 12.
Prolonged nocturnal driving can be as dangerous as severe alcohol-impaired
Verster JC(1), Taillard J, Sagaspe P, Olivier B, Philip P.
(1)Utrecht University, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of
Pharmacology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
In industrialized countries one-fifth of all traffic accidents can be ascribed to
sleepiness behind the wheel. Driver sleepiness can have many causes, including
the use of medicinal drugs or prolonged driving. The present study compared the
effects of prolonged highway driving at night with driving impairment caused by
alcohol. A cross-over balanced design tested 14 healthy young men who drove three
sessions during night-time on the open road. The driving sessions were of 2, 4
and 8 h (03:00-05:00, 01:00-05:00 and 21:00-05:00 hours) duration. Standard
deviation of lateral position (SDLP, cm), measuring the weaving of the car in the
last driving hour of each session, was the primary parameter. Only 2 h of
continuous nocturnal driving were sufficient to produce driving impairment
comparable to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%; after 3 h of driving
impairment corresponds to a BAC of 0.08%. In conclusion, a maximum of two
continuous nocturnal driving hours should be recommended.
2011 European Sleep Research Society.
PMID: 21226780 [Indexed for MEDLINE]