chapter  9
1 Pages

Sleepiness, sleep disorders, and accidents

WithPierre Philip, Jaques Taillard

During the last 15 years several major epidemiological studies have drawn attention to the prevalence of sleepiness and sleep disorders among the general population.1-3 Major industrial catastrophes have also been associated with sleepiness.4 In 2002, industrial and traffic accidents were the ninth leading cause of death in the world and will become the third leading cause by 2020.5 Sleepiness at the wheel2,6 has been identified as one of the major reasons for fatal crashes and highway accidents caused by automobile and/or truck drivers. Young drivers are over-represented in these sleep-related accidents, although no clear differentiation has been made concerning the cause of sleepiness itself; that is, whether it was due to self-induced sleep deprivation or simply to a greater vulnerability to the effects of sleep loss.