A drowsy young driver behind the wheel at sunset

Is it More Dangerous to Drive Sleepy or Drive Drunk?

A drowsy young driver behind the wheel at sunset

The American Automobile Association (AAA) published in December 2016 analyzed data from almost 5,000 accidents in the United States. It concluded that drivers who have lost three hours of sleep in a 24-hour range face similar accident risks to that of a driver who is legally drunk. This risk is four times higher than risk faced by a driver who has slept seven hours in a 24-hour range, and two times higher than for drivers who have lost one to two hours of sleep.

A Reuters report published by Autoblog indicated that Arkansas and New Jersey are the only two states in the country where driving with drowsiness is legally punishable. However, the application of sanctions is difficult since there is no reliable method to determine what level of sleep deprivation a pulled over driver may have.

The effects of drowsy driving and drunk driving are quite similar, and their consequences can be equally fatal. Even worse, the incidence of drowsy drivers on the roads is more common than that of drunk drivers. The same Reuters report indicated that a 2016 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than a third of adults in the United States do not sleep enough to maintain optimal health. This fact is concerning, particularly as the drivers most susceptible to sleep deprivation operate larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses.

DO NOT drive fatigued. If you are tired, it is better to stop in a safe place and rest before getting back on the road.