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Australian truckers suffering high rate of sleep apnoea - report

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Thursday 31st January 2013

Evidence heard at a court case in Australia has revealed that around half of the country’s long-haul truck drivers suffer from sleep apnoea, highlighting the extreme dangers of drowsy driving. The case involves a fatal accident in 2010 that involved a sleeping driver, who was convicted of negligent driving, with the ruling later reduced to a suspended sentence following medical evidence that he suffered from the sleep disorder. The findings of the case have led to calls for sleep-related conditions to be prioritised during driver checks.

The near-50% figure comes from a 2012 study by Sydney University academics which polled 1000 drivers and found that a significant proportion demonstrated the risk factors of being overweight and sedentary. The rate of sleep apnoea sufferers among the country’s truck driving community was deemed as double that of the overall population.

Another academic who had studied the drivers’ health and contributed to the case called for sleep assessments to be part of the recruitment process when sleep apnoea was a possibility.

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