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Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Amplify Impairment of Tired Drivers

An experiment has provided evidence that if a person is tired while consuming small amounts of alcohol then they may be unfit to drive, even if they’re within the legal limits for alcohol consumption.

About the Alcohol Impairment Experiment

The experiment conducted was created to study the attentiveness of 16 men who were either drowsy, had consumed alcohol, or a combination of both.

The men in the study, between the ages of 18 and 27, were tested four times to see how the combination of alcohol and drowsiness affected them. The participants rated their own levels of drowsiness and had their motor skills tested by researchers. The men were given enough alcohol to raise their blood alcohol levels to 0.05 percent, which is the legal limit in Australia where the experiment was conducted.

It was found that the men were most impaired 90 minutes after they consumed alcohol, and then were back to their regular attentiveness levels after two and a half hours.

Finding of the Impairment Study

The evidence from the experiment showed that a lack of sleep (5 hours per night) and alcohol consumption within the legal limits for driving caused the men to be much less attentive than if they had just consumed alcohol.

Alcohol increased the sense of sleep deprivation in participants, and this can be very dangerous for people driving after drinking, even if they had consumed small amounts of alcohol.

Clare Anderson, a co-author of the study, stated that no amount of alcohol intake while drowsy had been “deemed safe”, and that people should avoid alcohol or at least try to take a brief nap before trying to drive after drinking.



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