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G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 2012 Jul-Sep;34(3 Suppl):322-5.

[Sleepiness, safety on the road and management of risk].

[Article in Italian]

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Police Health Service Department, Ministry of the Interior, Italy.


Public health studies have shown that sleepiness at the wheel and other risks associated with sleep are responsible for 5% to 30% of road accidents, depending on the type of driver and/or road. In industrialized countries one-fifth of all traffic accidents can be ascribed to sleepiness behind the wheel. Sleep disorders and various common acute and chronic medical conditions together with lifestyles, extended work hours and prolonged wakefulness directly or indirectly affect the quality and quantity of one's sleep increasing the number of workers with sleep debt and staggered hours. These conditions may increase the risk of road accidents. Strategies to reduce this risk of both commercial and non-commercial drivers related to sleepiness include reliable diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, management of chronobiological conflicts, adequate catch-up sleep, and countermeasures against sleepiness at the wheel. Road transport safety requires the adoption of occupational health measures, including risk assessment, health education, technical-environmental prevention and health surveillance.

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