Accidents related to Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Many accidents have being related to sleepiness: car accidents, airplane accidents, train accidents, work accidents.
There is sufficient evidence to prove that sleepiness caused by the lack of good night sleep due to obstructive sleep apnea, is the reason for many of those accidents every day.
Each year, potentially 980 lives could be saved and $11.1 billion in automobile-accident costs could be avoided if drivers who suffer from a disorder called obstructive sleep apnea were successfully treated.
One study found that 1,400 fatalities each year are caused by sleep-deprived drivers with obstructive sleep apnea.
The new England journal of medicine published article concluded that “ There is a strong association between sleep apnea, as measured by the apnea–hypopnea index, and the risk of traffic accidents”.
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 60% of adult drivers – about 168 million people – say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, (37% or 103 million people), have actually fallen asleep at the wheel! In fact, of those who have nodded off, 13% say they have done so at least once a month. Four percent – approximately eleven million drivers – admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.
Drowsy drivings facts:
-Drowsy driving due to Obstructive sleep apnea kills many people every year.
-Several drowsy driving incidents have resulted in jail sentences for the driver.
-Multi-million dollar settlements have been awarded to families of crash victims as a result of lawsuits filed against individuals as well as businesses whose employees were involved in drowsy driving crashes.
See the following Related Publication:
ScienceDaily (Feb. 20, 2008) — People with sleep apnea -- a breathing disorder that disrupts sleep -- are at double the risk of being in a car crash, a new study by Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and University of British Columbia respirologists finds.
Published online in the journal Thorax, the study also found that patients with sleep apnea are three to five times more likely to be in a serious car crash involving personal injury.
Using data from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, researchers studied nearly 1,600 people including patients with and without sleep apnea.
"We were startled by the number of crashes, but even more surprised about the severity of the crashes and how many involved personal injury,” said study author Dr. Najib Ayas of the Vancouver Coastal Health Sleep Disorders Program and Associate Professor of Medicine at UBC. “Even those patients with fairly mild sleep apnea had an increased risk of serious crashes.”
Previous studies have identified a link between sleep apnea and increased risk for car crashes, but this is the largest study of its kind and the first study to examine the severity of such crashes.
Sleep apnea causes excessive daytime sleepiness. However in the study the patients' self-reported sleepiness was not linked to an increased risk of crashes. “The study suggests that the patients may not be aware of the potential driving hazards caused by sleep apnea,” said Dr. John Fleetham, UBC Professor of Medicine and a co-author of the study. “Given the markedly increased risk of crashes in patients with sleep apnea, we feel it is important for people with suspected sleep apnea to be assessed for this common disorder for which there are several effective treatments.”
Among the general population, men have more car crashes than women. However, men and women with sleep apnea in this study had similar crash rates.