Journal of Sleep Disorders: Treatment and Care 2325-9639

Editorial, J Sleep Disor Treat Care Vol: 1 Issue: 1

Driving Impairment and Accident Risk in Sleep Apnea: We Need Better Assessment Tools

Andrew Vakulin1,2*, Angela L. D’Rozario1 and Ronald R. Grunstein1,3
1Sleep and Circadian Research Group and NHMRC Centre for Integrated Research and Understanding of Sleep (CIRUS), Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, The University of Sydney, Australia
2Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, Repatriation General Hospital, Adelaide, Australia
3Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Corresponding author : Andrew Vakulin
Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, P.O Box M77, Missenden Road, Sydney, 2050, NSW, Australia
Tel: +612 9114 0443; Fax: +612 9114 0014
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: June 19, 2012 Accepted: June 20, 2012 Published: June 22, 2012
Citation: Vakulin A, D’Rozario AL, Grunstein RR (2012) Driving Impairment and Accident Risk in Sleep Apnea: We Need Better Assessment Tools. J Sleep Disor: Treat Care 1:1. doi:10.4172/2325-9639.1000e102

Abstract

Driving Impairment and Accident Risk in Sleep Apnea: We Need Better Assessment Tools

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is strongly associated with neurobehavioral impairment and increased motor vehicle accident (MVA) risk resulting in an estimated 1400 road fatalities and a cost of $15.9 billion annually in the United States alone. Despite these alarming figures, the elevated MVA risk might only relate to a subset of the OSA patient population, while a large proportion of patients show minimal or no driving impairment and present no relative risk on the road. At present, assessing an OSA patient’s MVA risk, and their eligibility to hold an unrestricted driver’s licence, is challenging. Current clinical metrics of OSA severity and daytime sleepiness are limited in their ability to identify at-risk patients. There is a need for novel assessment tools that may better reflect the risk of neurobehavioral impairment and MVA in individuals, allowing for targeted prioritisation of clinical resources and ultimately, improving traffic safety.

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