Sleepy driving: Accidents and injury

Nelson B. Powell, Kenneth B. Schechtman, Robert W. Riley, Kasey Li, Christian Guilleminault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The study goals were to evaluate the associated risks of driving and to predictors of accidents and injury due to sleepiness. STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional Internet-linked survey was designed to elicit data on driving habits, sleepiness, accidents, and injuries during the preceding 3 years. Statistical analysis included logistic models with covariate-adjusted P values of <0.01 (odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals or limits). Independent accident predictors were sought. RESULTS: Responses from 10,870 drivers were evaluated. The mean ± SD age was 36.9 ± 13 years; 61% were women and 85% were white. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale overall baseline score was 7.4 ± 4.2 (for drivers with no accidents) and ranged to 12.7 ± 7.2 (for drivers with ≥ 4 accidents) (P - < 0.0001). Twenty-three percent of all respondents experienced ≥ 1 accident. Among respondents who reported ≥ 4 accidents, a strong association existed for the most recent accident to include injury (P < 0.0001). Sleep disorders were reported by 22.5% of all respondents, with a significantly higher prevalence (35%, P = 0.002) for drivers who had been involved in ≥ 3 accidents. CONCLUSION: Factors of sleepiness were strongly associated with a greater risk of automobile accidents. Predictors were identified that may contribute to accidents and injury when associated with sleepiness and driving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-227
Number of pages11
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2002


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