Sleepiness in professional drivers: effect of age and time of day

Sarah Otmani, Joceline Rogé, Alain Muzet
Accident; Analysis and Prevention 2005, 37 (5): 930-7
The effect of age and time of day on objective and subjective sleepiness in professional drivers was investigated during a simulated driving task. Thirty-six young and middle-aged professional males drivers, free from any sleep disorder, took part in two simulated driving sessions; one carried out in the afternoon (between 2 and 4 p.m.) the other in the evening (between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.). Half of each age group drove in a low traffic condition while the second half drove in a heavy traffic condition. Throughout the driving task, subjects' electroencephalogram and Karolinska sleepiness scale (KSS) scores were recorded. Visual analog scales measuring alertness and sleepiness levels were also completed before and after the driving. After each session, subjects filled out the NASA-TLX questionnaire and were asked if they had felt sleepy during the driving. Young professional drivers presented a significant decrease in alertness (raise of the spectral power in the alpha band) in the low traffic condition and a strong propensity to sleep during the evening test in contrast to middle-aged professional drivers.

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