Night Shift Workers May Be More Dangerous Drivers
People who work night shifts may be more likely to have car crashes, suggests new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Researchers evaluated the daytime driving performance of night shift workers after a night of work compared to driving after a night of sleep. They found that 37.5 percent of the drivers participating in a test drive on a closed track after working the night shift were involved in near crashes.
Their impairment was so bad that nearly half of the post-night shift test drives were terminated early because the participants failed to maintain control of the vehicle. Sleep-related impairment was evident within the first 15 minutes of driving, accorrding to the researchers.
The same drivers, with sufficient sleep the night before the test, had zero near-crashes.
The researchers said the disruptions in a person’s sleep-wake cycle that come with working night shifts can make them partciuarly drowsy drivers when they head home.
More than 9.5 million Americans — 15 percent of the workforce — work either overnight or rotating shifts.
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