Does A Night of Sleep Mean You Aren't 'Drunk at Dawn'

We all know drinking and driving don't mix, but we put people to the test to see just how much it takes to become a danger on the road. What was most shocking was how they performed after a night of sleep.

For our experiment we took five volunteers, Mike, Tim, Rachel, Bill and Suzie out to Caviar near Fourth Street Live. We asked them not to go overboard, just enjoy themselves like they would on any night out drinking with friends.

The first drinks were served around 9:30 p.m. and they kept coming for the next four hours. When they had enough, it was off to the sheriff's office to see how impaired they were.

Rachel says she drinks socially a couple of times a week.

"I drank about the same," Rachel said with a slur. "I think that I'm about to six or eight drinks."

She actually had ten. That's still only about two drinks an hour.

"This is how I feel half of the nights," said Rachel.

Police say that's something people tend to do -- underestimate how much they actually drink on any given night. Rachel blew a .183, more than two times the legal limit of .08. She also failed both of her field sobriety tests.

Tim says he drinks socially with friends several times a week. During our test, he also had about two drinks an hour.

"Honestly, if I was out during the week and it was a function, this is where I would be right now," Tim said.

He blew a .137 and also failed his field sobriety tests.

Bill drank exactly the same amount as Tim. Our test confirmed alcohol affects us all differently. "Everybody thinks I'm a little bit, hmmmmm," said Bill, laughing, as he could barely stand.

He was by far the drunkest of the bunch, blowing a .215. He wouldn't even participate in the field sobriety tests.

"Count backwards from 65 to 51," said the officer. "I can't," replied Bill. "Give it a shot. 65 to 51," the officer asked again. "No. No I'm good," said Bill as he laughed.

Mike, who says he drinks four times a week socially, drank the most. Nearly three drinks an hour. "For the weekend that is definitely under par," he said.

Mike blew a .156 and didn't even get close on his field sobriety tests.

"Count backwards from 65 to 51," the officer said. "45, 55, 61," said Mike.

Suzie says she only drinks on weekends. She had fewer than two drinks an hour. "I'm going to be fine," Suzie said. "I will be fine. Maybe a little over, but I will be fine."

Suzie blew a .134, again over the legal limit, and failed her sobriety tests.

We found out you may be more impaired than you think. All of our volunteers said this is what they drink on a normal night out. Had they been driving, all would have been arrested and charged with a DUI.

We didn't want that to happen, so we drove them to a local hotel, told them to sleep for five to six hours and we would re-test them again the next morning.

"I'm questionable how I would feel in the morning," said Tim. "Because I have to work tomorrow."

"Oh yeah, when I wake up tomorrow I definitely know I will definitely be sober to drive," said Mike with an obvious slur in his voice.

"Typically the body dissipates approximately .01% of your blood alcohol per hour," said Major Chuck Adams with the Clark County Sheriff's Office. "Which is almost equivalent to one beer."

What about the old saying of eat something or drink some coffee to sober up?  "It doesn't matter how much you eat or how much coffee you drink," said Maj. Adams. "The even sell some pills out there that are supposed to take your blood alcohol level down, but it will not go down any faster no matter what you do, than the normal rate."

Remember all our volunteers said this is what they have when drinking casually with friends. So, around 7:30 the next morning it was back to the Sheriff's Office to be tested again.

"I guess my reflexes are good and that I feel like that I would be able to drive and everything," said Rachel. "And I don't feel like I'm impaired in any way."

Remember, the night before Rachel's blood alcohol level was a .183. That's more than twice the legal limit. The next morning she blew a .07. That's barely below the legal limit of .08, but she failed her field sobriety test. Because of that police say if they pulled Rachel over, she would still go to jail for a DUI.

"I don't feel impaired," said Mike. "Normally at this point, I would have sobered up, like if I passed out at a friend's house, I would be driving home about this time, because I have a dog to let out."

The night before, Mike's blood alcohol level was a .156. The next morning it had dropped to a .069. Again barely below the legal limit, but he too failed the finger-to-nose test and would be charged with driving under the influence.

"I truly am surprised that I blew that high," Mike said.

Bill was the drunkest of all the night before, blowing a .215. Almost three times the legal limit.

"How do you feel right now?" I asked Bill. "Drunk," he said. And he was, still legally drunk. Bill's blood alcohol level the following morning was a .131 -- still twice the legal limit. If stopped by police while driving he would be arrested for a DUI.

Only two of our five volunteers were well under the legal limit. Tim at a .05 and Suzie at a .03. They could be charged with public intoxication if pulled over. Police say the bottom line is all were still impaired and should not be behind the wheel. Officers say they are now concentrating on catching morning after drunk drivers.

"Between six and seven in the morning," said Maj. Adams. "So that's become the more prevalent that our officers are watching at that time of the morning."

"I went to bed three hours earlier than I normally would," said Tim. "So that I'm borderline and went to bed early, kind of concerns me."

And our test was a huge learning lesson for this group.

"It will change me for sure," said Rachel. "Hopefully I will stay longer and sleep longer before I decide to drive anywhere."

"Normally I would have woken up on a friend's couch or something and would have drove," said Mike. "Now I realize it's not a wise decision."

Our purpose of this report is to test just how much time you need when doing the right thing and sleeping off that night of drinking before you drive the next morning. It is a time when police tell us they are beefing up patrols and looking for impaired driving.

We clearly noticed a difference in the speech of all five volunteers the following morning. That just shows you because you think you are sober the next morning, doesn't mean you are legally sober.