American Academy of Sleep Medicine
WESTCHESTER, Ill.– The combination of extended wakefulness and low-dose alcohol has significant adverse effects on a person’s ability to drive, and elevates the risk of getting into a vehicular accident, according to a study published in the October 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
The study, authored by Mark E. Howard, PhD, of the Institute for Breathing and Sleep in Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia, focused on 19 volunteer professional drivers, who participated in a driving simulation and the Psychomotor Vigilance Task. The subjects were measured in a rested state (12-15 hours awake) and after extended wakefulness (18-21 hours awake) during two sessions. Alcohol was administered during one session, with performance measured at blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.00 percent, 0.03 percent and 0.05 percent in a non-sleep deprived state, and at 0.03 percent after extended wakefulness (at 1 a.m.and at 3 a.m.). During the second session, tests were performed at the same times without alcohol.
According to the results, extended wakefulness, combined with low-dose alcohol (0.03 percent BAC), resulted in more lapses and greater variation in lane position and speed than did a BACof 0.05 percent in a rested state.
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