Traffic accidents in commercial long-haul truck drivers: the influence of sleep-disordered breathing and obesity

Sleep. 1994 Oct;17(7):619-23.


This study assesses a possible independent effect of sleep-related breathing disorders on traffic accidents in long-haul commercial truck drivers. The study design included integrated analysis of recordings of sleep-related breathing disorders, self-reported automotive and company-recorded automotive accidents. A cross-sectional population of 90 commercial long-haul truck drivers 20-64 years of age was studied. Main outcome measures included presence or absence, as well as severity, of sleep-disordered breathing and frequency of automotive accidents. Truck drivers identified with sleep-disordered breathing had a two-fold higher accident rate per mile than drivers without sleep-disordered breathing. Accident frequency was not dependent on the severity of the sleep-related breathing disorder. Obese drivers with a body mass > or = 30 kg/m2 also presented a two-fold higher accident rate than nonobese drivers. We conclude that a complaint of excessive daytime sleepiness is related to a significantly higher automotive accident rate in long-haul commercial truck drivers. Sleep-disordered breathing with hypoxemia and obesity are risk factors for automotive accidents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Occupations*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires