Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sleepless Truck Drivers are Hazards on the Road, Study Finds

Lack of sleep can kill ...

"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.

... Nearly 5 percent of the truckers had severe sleep apnea and about 13 percent of the drivers got fewer than 5 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis.

"There are daytime neurobehavioral performance impairments that are found commonly in commercial drivers, and these are more likely among those who get an average of 5 or less hours of sleep a night and those who suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea," the researchers concluded."   (Continued via Occupational Hazards)   [Ergonomics Resources]

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