Certain sleep disorders can increase the risk for automobile accidents

MU researchers discover that drivers who suffer from shift work sleep disorder are 3x more likely to be involved in an accident.

June 4, 2021


Pate McCuien: As demand for services, like next day shipping, continue to increase, employees are working nontraditional work hours more often, which can result in the development of a chronic medical condition, called shift work sleep disorder.

According to a University of Missouri study, people who face this condition are also three times more likely to be involved in an automobile accident. Praveen Edara, an author of the study, said he was surprised by how much more likely people with shift work sleep disorder are to be involved in an accident compared to people with other, more commonly known disorders.

Edara: “Sleep apnea and insomnia, they increased the risk by about 30%. Whereas, the shift work sleep disorder increased by 300%, so that’s a big difference.”

McCuien: The researchers evaluated real world crash and near-crash data to determine the likelihood of an accident. Edara said this method takes previous research a step forward.

Edara: “In the past, researchers have studied in a controlled environment in a lab setting, driving simulators and so on, but not using actual observed crash data. We have known that sleep disorders do increase crash risk for a while now, so the unique thing is this new data set and also quantifying how much is that additional risk.”

McCuien: Edera suggests employers keep workers from getting behind the wheel by arranging for other rides, via ride sharing platform.

For more on this research, visit Showme.missouri.edu.

I’m Pate McCuien, with a Spotlight on Mizzou

Learn more about the research here

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