Monday, December 21, 2009

Drowsy Driving Receives More Attention

Drowsy driving is a common risk of untreated sleep apnea.

Driving tired can be as serious as driving drunk, according to the Cape Code Times.

One Australian study found that being awake 17 straight hours produced impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05. After 24 hours of not sleeping, the impairment rose to .10.

In contrast, driving with a BAC of .08 is considered driving drunk.

Driving drowsy is a serious problem in today’s society.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than 250,000 sleep-related motor vehicle accidents occur each year.

Who are these drivers? They can be anyone, but teens and shift workers make up a high proportion.

Commercial drivers also have a high rate of drowsy driving. An estimated 28 percent of truck drivers have sleep apnea. This condition can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and dangerous driving conditions.

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued new rules regarding sleep for commercial truck drivers. These rules say that truckers should not drive more than 11 hours in a row or work longer than 14 hours in a shift. Truckers should not drive more than 60 hours over a seven-day period or 70 hours over an eight-day period. They must rest for at least 10 hours between shifts and have a 34-hour period to recover from cumulative fatigue.

These rules are important, but sleep apnea can still affect alertness. Treating sleep apnea is one of the best ways to prevent drowsy driving. Oral appliance therapy and CPAP are two common treatments.

Read the full Cape Cod Times article online.

Learn more about drowsy driving here.

2 comments:

  1. To learn more about sleep apnea's impact on truck driving, plan to attend the American Sleep Apnea Association's "Sleep Apnea & Trucking Conference on May 11-12 in Baltimore (www.satc2010.org).

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so glad to see such an indepth article into this serious issue! Its important that we get the message out there that drowsy driving can be fatal

    - Akilla -
    Drowsy driving, the silent killer

    ReplyDelete

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