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CitationJ. Intern. Med. 1997, 241(3):213-9
AbstractOBJECTIVES: To estimate medical risk factors amongst drivers in single-car accidents with special reference to sleepiness and alcohol abuse. DESIGN: An epidemiological survey by means of multiple-choice questionnaires that were mailed to drivers and a random control group. SETTING: Iceland. SUBJECTS: All drivers in single-car accidents (n = 471) during 1989-91 and a control group from the general population (n = 1000). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Medical health profile and answers to questions concerning sleep disorders and alcohol abuse. RESULTS: Compared to the controls the drivers were younger and there were three times more males. The drivers abused alcohol more often. Chronic disorders such as epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, and cardiac disorders were not over-represented. Altogether, 15.4% claimed that sleepiness had caused their traffic accident, logistic regression analyses revealed that these 'sleepy' drivers more often had alcohol abuse and a history of 'almost falling a sleep whilst driving'. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to controls, drivers in single-car accidents are more likely to be young, male, have a history of sleepiness whilst driving, and also have a history suggestive of alcoholism. Chronic disorders like epilepsy and diabetes mellitus were not over-represented amongst the single-car accidents drivers. These results raise the question of how drivers with a high probability of causing an accident (sleepiness and alcoholism) can be identified in time and proper measures taken to prevent 'accidents waiting to happen'.
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