On-road driver sleepiness : what are Australian drivers experiences and awareness of sleepiness while driving?

Watling, Christopher N., Wilson, Adrian, Armstrong, Kerry A., & Smith, Simon S. (2014) On-road driver sleepiness : what are Australian drivers experiences and awareness of sleepiness while driving? In 22nd Congress of the European Sleep Research Society, 16-20 September 2014, Tallinn, Estonia.

Abstract

Objectives: Driver sleepiness contributes substantially to road crash incidents. Simulator and on-road studies clearly reveal an impairing effect from sleepiness for driving ability. However, drivers might not appreciate the dangerousness of driving while sleepy and this could translate to their on-road driving behaviours. This study sought to determine drivers’ on-road experiences of sleepiness, their sleep habits, and personal awareness of the signs of sleepiness.

Methods: Participants were a random selection of 92 drivers travelling on a major highway in the state of Queensland, Australia, who were stopped by Police as part of routine drink driving operations. Participants completed a brief questionnaire that included: demographic details, awareness and on-road experiences of sleepy driving, and sleep habits. A modified version of the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS) was used to assess subjective sleepiness during the last 15 minutes of driving.

Results: Participants rating of subjective sleepiness was quite low with 90% reporting at or below 3 on the KSS. Participants were reasonably aware of the signs of sleepiness; with a number of these correlated with on-road experiences. The participants sleep debt correlated with their alertness (r = -.30) and the hours spent driving (r = .38).

Conclusions: These results suggest that drivers had moderate or substantial experience of driving when sleepy and many were aware of the signs of sleepiness. As many of the participants reported driving long distances after suboptimal sleep durations, it is possible that their risk perception of the dangerousness of sleepy driving maybe erroneous.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 75163
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: driver sleepiness, roadside survey, awareness of sleepiness, sleep habits, risky driving, Australian drivers
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > COGNITIVE SCIENCE (170200) > Decision Making (170202)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > OTHER PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (179900)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2014 00:37
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2015 00:29

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