Thursday, October 22, 2009

Waking Up Drivers to Sleep Apnea

According to a recent Associated Press article, the National Transportation Safety Board is trying to decrease the number of driving accidents related to sleepiness.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) gives these stats on drowsy driving:

· 80,000 people fall asleep at the wheel each day
· 250,000 motor vehicle accidents are sleep-related each year
· 20 percent of all serious driving injuries are due to sleep

The Board wants all truck and bus drivers and merchant ship pilots to be screened for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Similar recommendations for airline pilots and train operators came out earlier this year.

OSA can be fatal. It raises a person’s risk for daytime sleepiness and driving accidents.

The AASM estimates that two percent of women and four percent of men have OSA. But truckers have OSA more often than the general population.

A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that more than 28 percent of truck drivers have sleep apnea.

There are many ways to treat OSA. Dentists trained in dental sleep medicine can treat OSA with oral appliances. Find-a-dentist near you!

Image by Max Duggan

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.