Sep 3, 1999

Vehicle accidents related to sleep: a review

Occupational and Environmental Medicine
J A Horne, L A Reyner

Abstract

Falling asleep while driving accounts for a considerable proportion of vehicle accidents under monotonous driving conditions. Many of these accidents are related to work--for example, drivers of lorries, goods vehicles, and company cars. Time of day (circadian) effects are profound, with sleepiness being particularly evident during night shift work, and driving home afterwards. Circadian factors are as important in determining driver sleepiness as is the duration of the drive, but only duration of the drive is built into legislation protecting professional drivers. Older drivers are also vulnerable to sleepiness in the mid-afternoon. Possible pathological causes of driver sleepiness are discussed, but there is little evidence that this factor contributes greatly to the accident statistics. Sleep does not occur spontaneously without warning. Drivers falling asleep are unlikely to recollect having done so, but will be aware of the precursory state of increasing sleepiness; probably reaching a state of fighting off sleep before an accident. Self awareness of sleepiness is a better method for alerting the driver than automatic sleepiness detectors in the vehicle. None of these have been proved to be reliable and most have shortcomi...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Insufficient Sleep Syndrome
DRUG Screen Quant Caffeine
Awareness
Alert brand of caffeine
Traffic Accidents
Caffeine Measurement
Caffeine
Pathology
Automobile Driving
Caffeine Stimulant Related Disorder

About this Paper

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