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Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Jan;50:138-46. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 May 7.

Road accidents caused by sleepy drivers: Update of a Norwegian survey.

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Institute of Transport Economics, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway.


The current study tests, updates and expands a model of factors associated with sleepy driving, originally based on a 1997 survey of accident-involved Norwegian drivers (Sagberg, F., 1999. Road accidents caused by drivers falling asleep. Accident Analysis & Prevention 31, 639-649). The aim is to establish a robust model to inform measures to tackle sleepy driving. The original questions on (i) tiredness-related accidents and (ii) incidents of sleep behind the wheel in the last 12 months were again posed in 2003 and 2008, in independent surveys of Norwegian drivers involved in accidents reported to a large insurance company. According to those drivers at-fault for the accident, tiredness or sleepiness behind the wheel contributed to between 1.9 and 3.9 per cent of all types of accident reported to the insurance company across these years. Accident-involved drivers not at fault for the accident reported a reduction in the incidence of sleep behind the wheel for the preceding year, decreasing from 8.3 per cent in 1997 to 2.9 per cent in 2008. The reasons for this are not clear. According to logistic regression analysis of survey responses, the following factors were robustly associated with road accidents involving sleepy driving: driving off the road; good road conditions; longer distance driven since the start of the trip; and fewer years with a driving licence. The following factors are consistently associated with reports of sleep behind the wheel, whether or not it leads to an accident: being male; driving further per year; being younger; and having sleep-related health problems. Taken together these findings suggest that young, inexperienced male drivers who drive long distances may be a suitable target for road safety campaigns aimed at tackling sleepy driving.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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