What would you tell your family if you fell asleep and caused an accident?
20% of accidents on motorways are caused by sleepiness
Up to 7 times more likely to have an accident
28% adult drivers said they had actually fallen asleep while driving
In the news
Sadly, sleep related incidents are increasingly in the news:
Bronx Train Crash – 2013
Selby Train Crash – 2001
American Airlines – 1999
Challenger Space Shuttle – 1988
Chernobyl – 1986
Three Mile Island – 1979
Of course these are the big stories that make the headlines, but sleepy people are up to 7 times more likely to have an accident.1
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School in the United States, 250,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel every day.
In a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 54% of adult drivers said they had driven while drowsy during the past year with 28% saying they had actually fallen asleep while driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is a factor in more than 100,000 crashes, resulting in 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries annually in the USA.
Still thinking “it won’t happen to me?“
If you have undiagnosed sleep apnoea, you may have forgotten what it feels like to be fully alert and awake. Sleepiness or drowsiness builds over time.
However, you can feel sharp and concentrate again with effective treatment.
Don’t fool yourself that it won’t happen to you. The statistics suggest that you are more likely to have an accident if you have untreated sleep apnoea.
It’s not worth the risk.
Think about it. If you had an accident caused by sleepiness, what would you tell your family?
1. Horne JA, Reyner LA. (1995) Sleep-related vehicle accidents. BMJ; 310: p565-567↩
2. Terán-Santos, Jimenez-Gomez, Cordero-Guevara. (1999) The Association between Sleep Apnea and the Risk of Traffic Accidents. N Engl J Med 1999; p340:847-851↩
3. Findley LJ, Unverzagt ME, Suratt PM. Automobile accidents involving patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. The American review of respiratory disease. 1988 Aug;138(2):337-40. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3195832 [accessed 2nd Dec 2013]↩