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Relation between traffic accidents and sleep apnea syndrome in truck drivers

Relation between traffic accidents and sleep apnea syndrome in truck drivers

Tuberkuloz Ve Toraks 55(3): 278-284

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness. Falling asleep while driving most often occurs during driving on empty roads, long distance drives, and those drives requiring low motor activity, and causes traffic accidents. We aimed to investigate the frequency of OSAS in long distance truck drivers and to evaluate the relation between OSAS and traffic accidents. A questionnaire containing demographic features, health statuses, OSAS symptoms of truck drivers and information about their accidents was filled with face to face interview. Three hundred and sixteen, male, long distance truck drivers were accepted to the study. Of the major symptoms of OSAS, snoring in 52.8%, excessive daytime sleepiness in 25.6%, witnessed apnea in 9.8%, all three symptoms in 2.8% of the drivers was determined. Ninety four of 316 (29.7%) drivers stated that they had traffic accidents. Twenty eight (29.8%) of those accidents caused loss of life. Nineteen (20.2%) drivers with accidents stated that the cause of the accident was falling asleep while driving. Snoring was present in 78.9% of those who had accidents due to sleeping, whereas in 51.5% of those who had accidents with other causes. Neck circumference and years of driving were significantly higher in drivers with accidents than those without. Snoring was significantly higher in those with a neck circumference > or = 42 cm, body mass index > or = 30 and number of accidents > or = 2. As a conclusion, OSAS risk factors and symptoms are commonly present in truck drivers and increases the risk for traffic accidents.

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