Drivers With SWSD Are 300% More Likely To Be In A Crash - Study
- on June 01, 2021
- Categories: Car Feature Articles
People have been taking overnight jobs for decades, but its impact on 21st-century workers with Shift Work Sleep Disorder is more pronounced. They are 300% more likely to involve in a crash while driving.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) traditionally affects workers who do not take nine-to-five jobs and have to perform duties at night. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 20% of workers in America have to take night shifts, and out of those, 10% to 40% struggle with SWSD.
The ailment "causes difficulties adjusting to a different sleep/wake schedule, which results in significant issues with falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping when desired," the Clinic revealed in a statement.
Researchers at the University of Missouri desired to comprehend driver’s capability to drive when affected by SWSD. In this regard, environmental engineering professors Praveen Edara and Carlos Sun explored a real-world driving study. They found that drivers with SWSD are “three times more likely to crash (or be in a near-crash) than drivers without this disorder.” Other sleeping conditions such as sleep apnea or insomnia have a 30% higher possibility of colliding (or nearly hitting).
"The magnitude of the crash risk increase for drowsy drivers is concerning, both to them and other motorists on the road," Edara said to Car and Driver. The 2017 report reveals that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted 91,000 "police-reported crashes" including sleepy motorists, implicating 50,000 injuries and nearly 800 deaths.
While it is not apparent why drivers with SWSD have so much higher chances of crashes, they can follow certain strategies to reduce the risk of a collision. Evidently, these include taking a rest or avoiding the drive.
"Due to the heightened safety risk experienced by drivers with SWSD, late-shift workers are encouraged to use non-driving transportation modes, such as taxi, transportation network companies, and public transit, when available," Edara stated. "Resting before driving back home after completing their shift is another option to mitigate the risk. This is consistent with the Hours of Service guidelines established for long-haul commercial drivers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that include rest periods to increase driver alertness."
You can check the study "Sleep Disorders and Risk of Traffic Crashes: A Naturalistic Driving Study Analysis," here.