Study: Night shift work can cause drowsiness and an auto accident

There are many reasons for a car collision to occur in Florida and across the country. One that is commonly referenced is if a driver is driving while drowsy. The common belief about drowsy driving is that it is simply a matter of lack of sleep. However, a study has found that people who work on a night shift and drive home after work have sleep-wake cycle disruptions and a lack of sleep while working their shift leads to greater danger of accidents due to drowsy driving.

The head of the hospital division that conducted the study believes that drowsy driving is a preventable hazard to the public. The study is believed to indicate why there are a larger number of night shift employees who have accidents on the road compared to people who work during the day and commute at night. The study involved 16 workers who were on the night shift. They drove on a closed track after getting more than 7.5 hours of sleep the night prior to not having night shift work. They were then tested after working on the night shift. These drivers were found to have episodes of micro-sleep, near accidents and other issues. It was found that 37.5 percent of the drivers who participated after a night shift were involved in a near-crash incident.

The night shift drivers were found to feel drowsier, exhibit poor performance on the road and were at higher risk of being in an accident. More than one-third of those who drove after a night shift during the test ended the experiment by needing to brake in an emergency. Drivers who have experience in driving after working on a night shift were not immune to the dangers. Their behaviors were found to be similar to drivers who had been drinking. Even drivers who had a short commute were found to have been at risk. The longer the drive was, the more dangerous it was.

The number of people across the country who work overnights or have shifts that rotate — 15 percent — making this research troublesome for its potential to lead to an auto accident. When there is a car collision, it is possible that people will suffer a serious injury or even fatality. For those who are injured in a car accident, the accident investigation is key to determine whether a drowsy driver was a cause. Speaking to a legal professional can help with pursuing a legal case.

Source: medicaldaily.com, “Night Shift Workers Are At An Increased Risk For Car Crashes, Even During Daytime Commute,” Justin Caba, Dec. 21, 2015

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