Monday, March 8, 2010

Jump on the Bus: Treating Sleep Disorders to Keep Roads Safe

A new study published in the journal Sleep and Breathing found that bus drivers have a high rate of sleepiness and sleep-related accidents.
The study occurred in Edinburgh, UK. It included 677 drivers. Each driver took a sleep questionnaire. They had a median age of 42. Their average body mass index was 27, indicating excess body weight. Twenty-five of the drivers were female.

The researchers spoke with 456 drivers, of which 97 percent completed a questionnaire. Union officials approached 1,398 drivers, of which only 17 percent answered a questionnaire. In total, 677 drivers participated.

Nine percent of drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel at least once per month while working.

Seven percent of drivers reported having an accident and 18 percent a near-miss accident due to sleepiness while working.

Twelve percent of drivers reported ever having falling asleep at the wheel. Of these 77 drivers, 55 percent reported accidents and 52 percent reported near-miss accidents due to sleepiness.

Twenty percent of drivers reported an Epworth Sleepiness Score or more than 10. Drivers who scored less than 10 reported fewer sleep-related driving accidents and near-miss accidents than those drivers who reported more than 10.

Drivers were assured that answering the questionnaire, providing their name, and taking a sleep test would not jeopardize their job. The union supported the study, but the researchers had trouble getting drivers to participate. The drivers showed more caution when the union officials handed out the questionnaires.

The researchers suggest that the low rate of volunteering indicates concern for job loss. Because of the risks associated with undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea, it is important that these fears are addressed.

The study indicates that 10 percent of bus drivers have OSA. Because the responses were self-reported, researchers note that the actual rate could be higher.

Image by Jungleboy

1 comment:

  1. those are scary statistics which deserve recognition. thank you for such a great blog

    Drowsy driving, the silent killer



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.