Microsleep Literature Review

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Kennedy, Gerard, Howard, Mark and Pierce, Robert (2001) Microsleep Literature Review. Project Report. VicRoads. (Submitted)


Motor vehicle accidents remain a major cause of death and injury despite recent reductions related to enforcement of speed restrictions and maximum blood alcohol levels. In 1996 there were over 2000 fatalities and approximately 20,000 serious injuries in Australia from motor vehicle accidents (Ferguson, Amoako et al. 2000). In Australia road traffic accidents are the seventh highest cause of years of life lost due to premature mortality (Van Der Weyden 1999). Alcohol, excessive speed, inexperience and sleep related fatigue (sleepiness) have been implicated as major causes of motor vehicle accidents. The Canadian Expert Panel stated "Driver fatigue has long been recognised as a major risk factor for commercial drivers. Estimates of the percentage of crashes that are partially or completely attributable to fatigue range from 1 to 56 percent, depending on the database examined, the level of detail gathered from crash investigations, and the study methodology employed” (Vespa 1998). Sleep related fatigue impairs reaction times, vigilance and peripheral vision, and ultimately results in falling asleep inappropriately (Akerstedt 1988) (Dinges, Pack et al. 1997) (Williamson, Feyer et al. 1996) (Russo, Thorne et al. 1999). These periods of falling asleep are initially very brief “microsleeps”, but as fatigue increases longer periods of sleep occur. These microsleeps can result in accidents due to failure to respond appropriately to the environment, such as obstacles and adjusting steering and speed. Impaired performance due to driver fatigue has been demonstrated on simulated driving tasks (Nilsson, Nelson et al. 1997). Fatigue and microsleeps cause speed variability and an increase in lane drift, which can result in drifting into an adjacent lane or off the road, resulting in accidents (Riemersma, Sanders et al. 1977).

Item type Monograph (Project Report)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/15809
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 380000 Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1109 Neurosciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords microsleeps, fatigue
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