Drowsy Driving is characterized by the following:
While distracted driving has been getting a lot of attention lately, drowsy driving remains a MAJOR RISK for motor vehicle crashes.
Did you know...
When individuals do not get a sufficient amount of sleep, the following side effects can result:
Studies have shown that being awake for more than 20 hours can result in impairment equal to a blood alcohol level of 0.08%.
Individuals at an increased risk of drowsy driving include those who...
In addition, younger drivers age 16-24 are nearly twice as likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash than drivers age 40-59. Men (52%) are also more likely than women (30%) to report having ever fallen asleep while driving.
To prevent drowsy driving, individuals should...
If you notice you have consistent problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, seek consultation at a Sleep Center.
The Medical Advisory Board (MAB) to the Motor Vehicle Authority (MVA) is comprised of physicians specializing in various areas of medicine. They work closely with the MVA to ensure that a driver is capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Approval by the Driver Wellness & Safety and/or the Medical Advisory Board is required if you have any of a number of conditions considered potentially to render a driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. If you have one of the listed conditions and are applying for a learner's permit, you must have approval prior to the issue of the permit. Similarly, if your driver's license has been revoked and you have asked to have it reinstated, you may be referred by the MVA for review by the Driver Wellness and Safety and/or Medical Advisory Board.
Sleep disorders, including narcolepsy or sleep apnea are among the conditions listed to which the above may apply. The MAB does not perform medical examinations. They depend on reports from your physicians.
There is no legal requirement for health care providers in the state of Maryland to report patients with sleepiness due to sleep disorders to state authorities. However, there is a legal requirement for drivers to be truthful when filling out health questionnaires for the state.
The rules for commercial drivers are more strict, and many transportation companies, like trucking and bus companies, are sensitive to the dangers of the sleepy driver and have their own rules for medical reporting of sleepiness, and establishing fitness to drive.
The Sleep Disorders Center is very sensitive to the problem of the sleepy driver and tries to perform our evaluations as rapidly as possible. For obvious reasons, our practitioners will NOT certify a driver as fit to drive UNLESS we have clear objective evidence that this is the case. If a driver has a known medical condition, like sleep apnea, this means that he or she is using their treatment and ON TREATMENT there is no objective evidence of excessive sleepiness.
On referral to the University of Maryland Sleep Disorders Center, the driver undergoes a complete medical history, including history of sleep symptoms and sleep disorders, medications, and anything else that could affect the ability to remain alert and vigilant. A complete physical examination is done. If there is a need based on the medical evaluation for diagnostic sleep studies, this will be ordered, and any necessary treatment will be recommended.
If a sleep disorder is found, appropriate treatment will be recommended. After treatment is begun, additional sleep testing to determine that treatment is effective, and that excessive sleepiness is gone may be ordered.
Once it is clear that there is no longer excessive sleepiness, a letter to the driver's employer, appropriate state agency or the driver him or herself will be generated documenting the sleep disorder, the treatment and that treatment has proven effective.
Some companies have policies requiring annual recertification of fitness to drive. The University of Maryland Sleep Disorders Center endeavors to accomplish this is a timely manner as well.