The on-road experiences and awareness of sleepiness in a sample of Australian highway drivers: a roadside driver sleepiness study

Watling, Christopher N., Armstrong, Kerry A., Smith, Simon S. and Wilson, Adrian (2016) The on-road experiences and awareness of sleepiness in a sample of Australian highway drivers: a roadside driver sleepiness study. Traffic Injury Prevention, 17 1: 24-30. doi:10.1080/15389588.2015.1033690


Author Watling, Christopher N.
Armstrong, Kerry A.
Smith, Simon S.
Wilson, Adrian
Title The on-road experiences and awareness of sleepiness in a sample of Australian highway drivers: a roadside driver sleepiness study
Journal name Traffic Injury Prevention   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1538-957X
1538-9588
Publication date 2016-01-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/15389588.2015.1033690
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 17
Issue 1
Start page 24
End page 30
Total pages 7
Place of publication New York, NY United States
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Abstract Objective: Driver sleepiness contributes substantially to road crash incidents. Simulator and on-road studies clearly reveal an impairing effect from sleepiness on driving ability. However, the degree to which drivers appreciate the dangerousness of driving while sleepy is somewhat unclear. This study sought to determine drivers' on-road experiences of sleepiness, their prior sleep habits, and personal awareness of the signs of sleepiness.
Formatted abstract
Objective: Driver sleepiness contributes substantially to road crash incidents. Simulator and on-road studies clearly reveal an impairing effect from sleepiness on driving ability. However, the degree to which drivers appreciate the dangerousness of driving while sleepy is somewhat unclear. This study sought to determine drivers' on-road experiences of sleepiness, their prior sleep habits, and personal awareness of the signs of sleepiness.

Methods:
Participants were a random selection of 92 drivers traveling 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 information, sleepy driving experiences (signs of sleepiness and on-road experiences of sleepiness), and prior sleep habits. A modified version of the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS) was used to assess subjective sleepiness in the 15 min prior to being stopped by police.

Results: Participants' ratings of subjective sleepiness were quite low, with 90% reporting being alert to extremely alert on the KSS. Participants were reasonably aware of the signs of sleepiness, with many signs of sleepiness associated with on-road experiences of sleepiness. Additionally, the number of hours spent driving was positively correlated with the drivers' level of sleep debt.

Conclusions: The results suggest that participants had moderate experiences of driving while sleepy and many were aware of the signs of sleepiness. The relationship between driving long distances and increased sleep debt is a concern for road safety. Increased education regarding the dangers of sleepy driving seems warranted.
Keyword Driver sleepiness
Roadside survey
Awareness of sleepiness
Sleep habits
Risky driving
Australian drivers
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
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