Long distance driving and self-induced sleep deprivation among automobile drivers

Sleep. 1999 Jun 15;22(4):475-80. doi: 10.1093/sleep/22.4.475.


Objective: To evaluate the sleep hygiene and prevalence of sleep deprivation among a large sample of automobile drivers.

Design: From the 15th of June to the 4th of August 1996, with the help of the French highway patrol, we randomly stopped automobile drivers at the toll booths of Bordeaux and Biarritz. All subjects completed a validated questionnaire on sleep/wake habits during the year. After answering the questionnaire, subjects completed a graphic travel and sleep log of the three days preceding the interview.

Participants: We randomly stopped 2196 automobile drivers. Ninety-one percent of the sample (mean age 43 +/- 13 years) agreed to participate in the survey.

Results: Fifty percent of the drivers decreased their total sleep time in the 24 hours before the interview compared with their regular self-reported sleep time. 12.5% presented a sleep debt > 180 minutes, and 2.7% presented a sleep debt > 300 minutes. Being young, commuting to work, driving long distances, starting the trip at night, being an "evening" person, being a long sleeper during the week, and sleeping in on the week-end were risk factors significantly associated with sleep debt.

Conclusion: The results of the study highlight variables (long-distance driving, youth, sleep restriction) that are frequently associated with sleep-related accidents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiology*
  • Time Factors