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Sleep specialists' opinion on sleep disorders and fitness to drive a car: The necessity of continued education

Verster, Joris C.; Mets, Monique A.J.; Alford, Chris; Verster, Joris


Joris C. Verster

Monique A.J. Mets

Joris Verster


Whether patients with sleep disorders are fit to drive, and who should determine this, is a matter of debate. However, scientific literature is available on these topics to aid clinicians making these decisions. A survey was conducted to assess sleep specialists' views on fitness to drive for patients suffering from apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy. Most of the 112 respondents (66%, 95%CI: 57-74%) indicated that insomnia patients would be fit to drive within days or weeks after initiating treatment, but 44% (95%CI: 35-53%) felt that, depending on the amount of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), they should not drive if untreated. Around half of respondents (49%, 95%CI: 40-58%) indicated that untreated patients with apnea should not drive, but the majority (66%, 95%CI: 57-74%) felt they could drive after Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatment was established, though EDS was a significant factor. For untreated narcoleptic patients 77% (95%CI: 68-84%) indicated they should not drive, and similarly, that treated patients could drive, although EDS levels were again seen as important. It is concluded that patient education remains the most practical approach to improve compliance and reduce accidents associated with EDS. Sleep specialists should remain up-to-date of relevant scientific literature to achieve this goal. © 2012 National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.


Verster, J. C., Mets, M. A., Alford, C., & Verster, J. (2012). Sleep specialists' opinion on sleep disorders and fitness to drive a car: The necessity of continued education. Industrial Health, 50(6), 499-508.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 1, 2012
Journal Industrial Health
Print ISSN 0019-8366
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 6
Pages 499-508
Keywords driving, fitness to drive, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, excessive datime sleepiness
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