We all know that after a few drinks, you have no business driving a vehicle. But, did you know the same is true after a missed night of sleep?
A panel created by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recently concluded that individuals who have slept less than 2 hours in the prior 24 hours are too sleep deprived to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Members of the NSF-convened expert panel further agreed that most healthy drivers would likely be impaired with only three to five hours of sleep during the prior 24 hours.
“The National Sleep Foundation Drowsy Driving Consensus Statement gives public policy makers a clear direction on when vehicle operators should be considered too sleep deprived to drive, and are therefore impaired,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “We believe this simple definition for drowsy driving will serve as a powerful tool to help policy makers create safer roads and drivers to make sound decisions.”
The publication and definition are the result of a systematic literature review by a panel of experts from sleep, transportation and medicine, followed by consensus building and voting. The consensus statement has been endorsed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms.
“Sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries on American roadways each year. This study represents the first expert consensus determination available to guide those attempting to reduce the risk of these preventable tragedies through legislation and public policies,” said Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, Chair of the Consensus Panel and Chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.