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Sleep conditions more dangerous than drink-driving, RAC says

Friday 30 December 2016, By Autovolo

Sleep conditions more dangerous than drink-driving, RAC says

Sleep conditions more dangerous than drink-driving, RAC says

Driving with an undiagnosed sleep condition is potentially more dangerous than driving while over the limit, the RAC has said.

The motoring organisation says that conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS or OSA) can be a greater impediment to driving than alcohol consumption.

OSAS, which disturbs normal sleeping patterns, can make sufferers feel drowsy in the daytime and therefore increases the chances of falling asleep at the wheel – endangering the lives of the sufferer and other road users.

Professor John Stradling, a member of the OSA Partnership Group, said: “It is worth reminding anyone who considers driving with untreated OSAS that the impairment to driving can be considerably greater than exceeding the legal alcohol limit.

“There is a high risk of drivers with untreated OSAS losing concentration and falling asleep behind the wheel, leading to injury or death.”

The RAC has said a fast-track treatment system should be introduced for those who drive for work, suggesting a maximum of four weeks between diagnosis and treatment.

According to the RAC, some drivers are waiting months for treatment, putting their careers and livelihoods at risk. The organisation says this may also be making the roads more dangerous by reducing the number of drivers who investigate symptoms.

RAC roads policy spokesperson Nicholas Lyes said: “Commercial drivers are vital to the health and growth of the UK’s economy, so it’s only right that those behind the wheel are safe and aware of any health threats that might impair their driving ability.

“Something like OSAS can affect anybody, regardless of ability and experience, which is why we feel it is vital that they have access to fast-track diagnosis and treatment that ensures job security and they are back on the road within a few weeks.”