Final Report on the Portable Computerized Assessments of Sleepy Drivers in Operational Environments, June 29, 2011

(2011) Final Report on the Portable Computerized Assessments of Sleepy Drivers in Operational Environments, June 29, 2011. Transportation, Department of


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Excessive daytime sleepiness underpins a large number of the reported motor vehicle crashes. Fair and accurate field measures are needed to identify at-risk drivers who have been identified as potentially driving in a sleep deprived state on the basis of erratic driving behavior. The purpose of this research study was to evaluate a set of cognitive tests that can assist Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officers on duty in identifying drivers who may be engaged in sleep impaired driving. Currently no gold standard test exists to judge sleepiness in the field. Previous research has shown that Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) is sensitive to sleep deprivation. The first goal of the current study was to evaluate whether computerized tests of attention and memory, more brief than PVT, would be as sensitive to sleepiness effects. The second goal of the study was to evaluate whether objective and subjective indices of acute and cumulative sleepiness predicted cognitive performance. Findings showed that sleepiness effects were detected in three out of six tasks. Furthermore, PVT was the only task that showed a consistent slowing of both ‘best’, i.e. minimum, and ‘typical’ responses, median RT due to sleepiness. However, PVT failed to show significant associations with objective measures of sleep deprivation (number of hours awake). The findings indicate that sleepiness tests in the field have significant limitations. The findings clearly show that it will not be possible to set absolute performance thresholds to identify sleep-impaired drivers based on cognitive performance on any test. Cooperation with industry to adjust work and rest cycles, and incentives to comply with those regulations will be critical components of a broad policy to prevent sleepy truck drivers from getting on the road.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Sleepiness, Cognitive Field Tests, Transportation, Motor Vehicle Crashes, PVT, Psycho-motor Vigilance Task, Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officers.
Subjects: Transportation > Research
Transportation > Design and Construction
ID Code: 14795
Deposited By: Margaret Barr
Deposited On: 25 Jul 2013 14:45
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2013 14:45