A strong link between sleep apnea and the affected individual’s likelihood of being involved in a road traffic accident seems to be quite high as per a new study conducted by a team of scientists. Countless lives can be saved every year on US roads and highways if accurate strategies are taken that successfully treat and eventually alleviate the common sleep disorder on a more widespread basis, the researchers believe.
Those with diagnosed cases of sleep apnea may be up to 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident than a driver not affected by any sleep disorder, the researchers at the University of Gothenburg explained.
“This study provides very strong evidence that obstructive sleep apnea patients have an increased traffic accident risk,” Ludger Grote, the study’s lead author explained.
A 70% improvement to overall vehicle accident rates was noted as a result of patients suffering from sleep apnea receiving continuous positive airway pressure treatment on a nightly basis. Moreover, respective likelihood of causing an accident increased considerably where individuals suffered from drowsiness during the daytime and were known to be using sleeping pills or were sleeping less than five hours each night.
“Effective identification and treatment of sleep apnea is essential to reduce avoidable, life-threatening accidents caused by drowsy driving,” commented Timothy Morgenthaler, president of the American Academy of Sleep.
These findings strongly emphasize on the need of introduction of new treatment strategies and approaches to help individuals tackle sleep apnea better and drive safely, thereby reducing their risk of being involved in a road accident that may also possibly turn out to be fatal.