AAA Study: Drowsy Driving As Risky As Drunk Driving

The CBS Evening News (12/6, story 9, 1:50, Pelley) broadcast on a new AAA study released Tuesday suggesting “that getting behind the wheel on four or five hours’ sleep is just as dangerous as driving drunk.” According to the broadcast, a little over one in three drivers in the US does not get “the recommended seven hours of sleep daily,” and those who do get “just five or six hours” are “almost twice as likely to be involved in an accident.” As a driver’s hours of sleep decreased, the risk of an accident increased exponentially, with “teenagers, older adults, and people who have a sleep debt” at “the highest risk.”

        Reuters (12/6) reports the study used NHTSA crash data from July 2005 through December 2007. The Washington Post (12/6, Halsey) cites NHTSA’s statistics for traffic fatalities last year, when “35,092 people were killed…up 7.2 percent from 32,675 in 2014.” The executive director of AAA, David Yang, says “You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel.”


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Handful Of Nuts Eaten Daily Can Reduce Risk Of Death From Heart Disease, Review Finds

The New York Times (12/6, Bakalar, Subscription Publication) reports that a review of 20 prospective studies published in BMC Medicine finds that “a handful of nuts a day may be enough to reduce the risk for death from heart disease and other ills.” Researchers found that people who ate the most nuts “reduced the risk for coronary heart disease by 29 percent, for cardiovascular disease by 21 percent and for cancer by 15 percent,” compared to those who ate the fewest. In addition, “there was also a 52 percent reduced risk for respiratory disease, 39 percent for diabetes and 75 percent reduced risk for infectious disease in those who ate the most nuts.”

Study Shows Occasional Cigarettes Are Dangerous To People’s Health

The Washington Post (12/5, McGinley) reports a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that even casual smokers, who may only smoke a few cigarettes each day or week, are at an 87 percent greater risk of dying earlier compared to people who do not smoke at all. The study serves as a reminder, particularly to younger smokers, who think partaking in the habit less frequently makes it safe; according to lead author Maki Inoue Choi, “The message is that there is no safe level of smoking.”