Drivers who get tired after a few hours of driving can have the same effect as being over the BAC limit, Dutch researchers tell DUI criminal defense attorneys and drunk driving lawyer prosecutors in California.
Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands say 2 hours of highway driving in the dark can affect performance the same as having a couple of drinks.
Unlike alcohol, cops cannot measure if a driver is affected by fatigue or to what extent.
In the study, 14 healthy young men ages 21 to 25 drove under supervision for 2, 4 and 8 hours at a time through the night.
Drivers drove a constant 80 mph and remain in the center of their traffic lane as a video recorded the safety of their driving.
The results, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, showed that after 2 hours of driving they were already making the same mistakes they would if they had .05% blood alcohol content.
At 3 hours, their performance corresponded to .08% BAC.
"Our data show that drivers should take sleepiness behind the wheel seriously," the researchers said in a report on their findings. "It is one of the primary causes of accidents on motorways."