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Traffic Inj Prev. 2014;15(2):132-7. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2013.800637.

Deterioration in driving performance during sleep deprivation is similar in professional and nonprofessional drivers.

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a Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Austin Health , Heidelberg , Victoria , Australia.



There is some suggestion in the literature that professional drivers might self-select to be more resistant to the effects of sleep deprivation; however, this question has not been directly examined. The current laboratory study aimed to compare performance changes during acute sleep deprivation between professional and nonprofessional drivers.


Twenty volunteer male professional drivers and 20 nonprofessional drivers performed a simulated driving task (AusEd) and the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) during 24 hours of continuous wakefulness. Ratings of subjective sleepiness were also examined.


There was a progressive and significant increase in lateral lane position and speed variability on the simulated driving task and an increase in PVT reaction times and lapses after participants had been awake for 17 to 24 hours (Ps < .01). There was no difference in performance changes between the professional and nonprofessional drivers.


Professional drivers in this study had the same susceptibility to sleep deprivation as nonprofessional drivers. This finding does not support the concept that professional drivers are resistant to sleep loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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