Debate Over Inclusion Of Sleep Apnea In The Standards For Driving

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disease that not many people know, even though they may suffer. Patients are unable to sleep and breathe at the same time: during sleep (and only during sleep) the throat collapses and in the air can no longer reach the lungs. Breathing stops despite hectic efforts and oxygen drops to� interrupted sleep, the throat appears open with a loud snoring, breathing resumes and sleep will be continued until the next apnea. The average patient is 250 to 400 apneas per night, and is totally unaware that this is happening�

OSA causes snoring and daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, and cardiac and cerebral injuries, it also increases the risk of traffic accidents seven times. Data from Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and the United States are agreed: OSA was estimated to be responsible for 5 to 10% of all traffic accidents.

Despite clear evidence of this dangerous effect, and its possible correction with appropriate treatment, only nine European countries include sleep apnea among the diseases to consider at the time the provision of a license. Moreover, there is no clear attitude among the various countries, such as the assessment of the severity of the disease or the effects of treatment, or who is responsible for the decision on the fate of potentially dangerous drivers.

Every effort should be made to the Sleepiness and Obstructive Sleep Apnea on the agenda of the European Transport Workers' Federation authorities. The comitology procedure seems to be a pragmatic and workable way. OSA could in the next amending Appendix III sleepiness during could with information and education campaigns.

On 12 And 13 In October 2007, COST Action B26 hosted a working meeting with international experts to discuss the best way to keep within the OSA health disorder, a serious risk for traffic accidents in the whole of the European Union. The meeting was organized by the Center for Sleep Medicine, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels.

Following this initiative, a meeting with the High Commission for Transport was held in which COST Action B26 had the opportunity to present their proposals for the future integration of OSA in the framework of the Annex III for the European Driving regulations.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is important not only in itself, if the license arrangements in all European countries, it can also be a marker for the entire range of fatigue and drowsiness while driving. We are convinced that this domain must be brought to the attention of all drivers, private and professionals alike. Are you?