Sleep Disorders Raise Accident Risk for Truckers
Truck drivers are more prone to increasedaccidents as a result of excessive sleepinessand sleep-disordered breathing. Astudy of >2300 Australian truck drivers,reported in the American Journal of Respiratoryand Critical Care Medicine (November2004), found that 60% had sleep-disorderedbreathing and 16 percent had obstructivesleep apnea, compared with 24% and 4%,respectively, among the general population.
The study defined sleep-disordered breathingas 5 or more temporary breathing pausesper hour while sleeping. Sleep apnea wasdefined as 5 or more breathing pauses per hourplus a high score on a specialized sleepinessscale. With regard to the number of accidentsassociated with driving, the study showed that35.5% of the truck drivers had a total of 1407accidents in the previous 3 years. Furthermore,48.3% had >1 accident during that time frame.