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Serious motor vehicle crashes: the cost of untreated sleep apnoea

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Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury morbidity and mortality in the United States, accounting for more than 40 000 deaths and 6 million injuries every year.1 Sleep related accidents comprise 15–20% of all motor vehicle crashes and result in thousands of serious injuries and death.2 Many of these sleep related accidents could be prevented by treatment of sleep related respiratory disorders.

Sleep apnoea is a common problem and affects at least 4% of working men and 2% of women; it has been reported to occur in 5% of commercial drivers.3 4 Unfortunately, more than 80% of people with sleep apnoea have not yet been diagnosed or treated. Sleep apnoea severely disrupts sleep and causes daytime sleepiness and inattentiveness, as well as cognitive impairment, poor performance on driving simulators, and a motor vehicle crash rate that is 2–4 …

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