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Driving consequences of sleepiness in Canadians with obstructive sleep apnea: A population survey


Untreated OSA has been associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes.

Previous studies are now 2 decades old and may have been impacted by bias; thus, modern, anonymous estimates are needed.


We conducted an anonymous survey, which asked about experiences with OSA, including the impact of OSA on driving. Logistic regression models were used to assess the association between the risk of falling asleep while driving and crashes/near miss and potential predictors, including OSA severity, age, sex, hours driven per week, current treatment and work schedule.


Six hundred complete responses were received. Ninety percent of respondents drove regularly with 72% driving between 1 and 20 hours a week. Twenty-eight percent of respondents reported having fallen asleep while driving and 5% had experienced a crash or near miss related to sleepiness within the previous 5 years. After adjusting for OSA severity, age, sex and hours driven per week, falling asleep while driving was associated with severe OSA (OR 1.76 [95% CI 1.05, 3.01]) and higher age (in years) (OR 0.98 [95% Cl 0.97, 1.00]). Use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and higher age were associated with reduced crash or near miss in the multivariable analysis (OR 0.27 [95% C1 0.08, 0.89]; OR 0.96 [95% Cl 0.92,1.00]), and shift work was associated with

increased risk (OR 3.26 [95% Cl 1.08, 10.11]).


Falling asleep or crashing while driving remains common among individuals with OSA.

This supports continued efforts to identify and treat affected individuals.


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