Daytime Sleepiness Increases Risk of Auto Accidents

Other blogposts have discussed drowsy driving, and this month a new research study updated this work.  The study measured how sleepy individuals were, and how many auto accidents they had.

The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) to measure sleepiness was done on 618 people.  During the MSLT, every two hours the participant has an opportunity to nap, and EEG measures how long it takes to fall asleep.  Falling asleep in 5- 10 minutes is considered moderately sleepy, with sleep onset in less than 5 minutes considered excessively sleepy.  The number of car crashes in the 10 years surrounding the MSLT was tabulated for each person.

The people who were excessively sleepy had an accident rate of 59%, while those who were alert had only a 47% rate.  The difference in number of accidents between these two groups was significant.  Excessively sleepy people also had a higher risk of severe injury in an auto accident than alert individuals.

This is important for us as individuals every time we get on the road, and is also a public safety issue.  Read earlier blogpost for tips you can use to stay alert on the road.

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