Friday, August 25, 2006

Sleepless Truck Drivers are Hazards on the Road, Study Finds

Now here is a dangerous workplace environment ...

"Truck drivers getting little sleep or suffering from sleep apnea show signs of impaired performance that can make them a hazard on the road, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) School of Medicine.

Penn researchers examined 406 truck drivers and found those who routinely slept less than 5 hours a night were likely to fare poorly on tests designed to measure sleepiness, attention and reaction time and steering ability. Drivers with severe sleep apnea – a condition in which someone stops breathing often during sleep – also were sleepy and had performance impairment.

This study is among the largest and most comprehensive studies of truck drivers and fatigue ever done.

... When the results were compiled, investigators discovered:

- Just over 5 percent of drivers showed impairment on all three performance-related tests.
- Nearly 60 percent did not fare well by at least one measure.
- About half of the drivers who got less than 5 hours of sleep had two or three impairments. That's compared to 10 percent of drivers who got more than 8 hours of sleep regularly.
- Likewise, about 60 percent of the drivers with severe sleep apnea had two or three impairments."   (Continued via Occupational Hazards)   [Ergonomics Resources]

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