May 11, 2023

Blood Tests For Sleepy Drivers

Blood test studies recently carried out showed a risk of having an accident whilst driving tired could double if the driver has had less than 5 hours sleep in the 24hrs leading up to getting behind the wheel.

Which has led the question to be asked, should a new law be brought into affect for a minimum number of hours of sleep to be required to be able to drive? One-fifth of road accidents are thought to be linked to tiredness, the new tests would be able to detect if someone is too tired to be safe enough to drive.

Nature and Science of Sleep published a study last month, which suggested the risk of having a crash could be doubled if a driver has slept for less than four or five hours in the previous 24 hours.

Its well known that alcohol and drug usage can be measured via breath and blood tests, the same does not exist. But a team has now claimed it has identified 5 substances in the blood that includes Lipids which is produced in the gut that can distinguish if someone has been been awake for 24hrs.

The test was 90 per cent accurate in real-life situations, reported the researchers. However it is yet to comprehend the difference between people who have had say, five hours or just two.

The researchers have said that, with a sleep test, new laws could eventually be written to stipulate a minimum number of hours of sleep that are needed before driving.

Leader of the team Clare Anderson, an associate professor at Monash University in Australia, said: “When you look at the major killers on the road, alcohol is one of them, speeding is another and fatigue is one of them. But our capacity to manage [tiredness] is impaired because we don’t have tools to be able to monitor it like we do with alcohol.”

Professor Shantha Rajaratnam, also at Monash University, said: “With the right investment to be able to scale this, I reckon that within five years we will be able to implement these biomarkerbased tests — at least in safety-critical industries such as trucking, commercial aviation and mining.”

Professor Ashleigh Filtness, a driver fatigue expert for Road Safety GB, said: “There is already legislation stating that all drivers must be fit to drive their vehicles. Alertness is no different to any other requirement for safe driving.”

The Department for Transport said: “Drivers have a responsibility to ensure they are awake and alert on the road and should seek rest when feeling tired. The government is not considering this type of testing but we always note new ideas to make our roads safer.”

Rebecca at Britannia says: When you are tired it definitely impacts your ability to be able to make speedy and rational decisions and when it comes to driving especially on motor ways you need to be on your A game. If you are running on little to no sleep it could impact your reaction time plus also increase road rage!