• Tiredness and sleepiness in bus drivers and road accidents in Peru: a quantitative study Artículos

    Castro, Jorge Rey de; Gallo, Jorge; Loureiro, Hugo

    Abstract in Spanish:

    OBJETIVO: Evaluar la relación del cansancio y la somnolencia en los conductores de ómnibus con los accidentes de carretera. La información obtenida de diversos países atribuye a la somnolencia del conductor una parte importante en la génesis de los accidentes de carretera. No obstante, la información al respecto es escasa en el caso del Perú. MÉTODOS: Se realizó un estudio transversal, de índole observacional y comparativa, basado en una encuesta prevalidada y de aplicación supervisada, entre 238 conductores de ómnibus que circulan por la carretera Panamericana Norte del Perú. Para determinar la relación entre variables se emplearon la prueba de ji al cuadrado y el índice de Pearson, con un valor de significación de P < 0,05. Variables de análisis:cansancio, somnolencia, horas de conducción por día, horas de sueño por día, índice de masa corporal, ronquido, pausas respiratorias y el antecedente de haber tenido o estar a punto de tener un accidente durante la conducción. RESULTADOS: De los 238 conductores, todos ellos varones, 45% refirieron haber estado a punto de tener un accidente o haberlo sufrido durante la conducción, 55% dormían menos de 6 horas al día, 31% habían dormido menos de 6 horas en las últimas 24, y 80% acostumbraban conducir más de 5 horas sin descanso. Señalaron cansancio durante la conducción 56% y, de estos, 65% lo experimentaban durante la madrugada. Setenta y seis (32%) conductores reconocieron que pestañeaban durante la conducción. Ciento noventa y cuatro (81%) siempre dormían en el maletero, estuviera el ómnibus en ruta o en la terminal. Maniobras para evitar dormirse: mojarse la cara con agua, comer fruta, abrir ventana de la cabina, beber café, escuchar música, fumar, masticar (chacchar) coca y beber alcohol con hoja de coca. En opinión de 55% de los conductores, la primera causa de accidentes de carretera es el cansancio. Los accidentes durante la conducción, virtuales o consumados, ocurrieron predominantemente entre las 00:00 y las 06:00 horas. Este antecedente mostró firme asociación (P< 0,0005) con el pestañeo y el cansancio. CONCLUSIONES: La somnolencia y el cansancio durante la conducción fueron frecuentes. Su origen puede ser multifactorial: privación aguda y crónica del sueño, rotación desordenada de horarios y trastornos del sueño de origen ambiental. Los resultados respaldan la hipótesis de que hay una relación entre la fatiga y somnolencia de los conductores y los accidentes en carreteras.

    Abstract in English:

    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship that tiredness and sleepiness in bus drivers have to road accidents in Peru. Information from various countries indicates that driver sleepiness plays an important role in road accidents. However, there is only limited information on this subject in Peru. METHODS: Using a supervised, pretested survey, a cross-sectional observational and comparative study was carried out with 238 bus drivers who drive on the Northern Pan American Highway of Peru. To determine the relationship between variables the chi-square test was used, along with the Pearson correlation coefficient. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05. The variables analyzed were: tiredness, sleepiness, hours of driving per day, daily hours of sleep, body mass index, snoring, sleep apnea, and either having had or almost having had an accident while driving. RESULTS: Of the 238 drivers, all of them were men, 45% said they had had or nearly had had an accident while driving, 55% slept less than 6 hours per day, 31% had slept less than 6 hours in the 24 hours before answering the survey, and 80% were in the habit of driving more than 5 hours without stopping. Of the drivers, 56% of them reported being tired at least some of the time while driving; of this group, 65% of them reported being tired during the early morning. Seventy-six drivers (32%) said that while they were driving their eyes had fallen shut. In terms of where they slept, 194 of the drivers (81%) said they always slept in the lower luggage compartment of the bus while another driver was driving the bus or when the bus was parked in the bus terminal. The steps that drivers took to avoid falling asleep while driving included: wetting the face with water, eating fruit, opening the window of the driver's compartment, drinking coffee, listening to music, smoking, chewing coca leaves, and drinking alcohol mixed with coca leaves. In the opinion of 55% of the drivers, the leading cause of road accidents is tiredness. Accidents and near-accidents while driving occurred mainly between midnight and 6 a.m. Having an accident or a near-accident was strongly associated with tiredness and with having the eyes drop shut while driving (P < 0.0005). CONCLUSIONS: Tiredness and sleepiness while driving were common among the bus drivers, with various possible causes: acute and chronic sleep deprivation, irregular schedule changes, and sleep disorders due to the drivers' working conditions. Our results support the hypothesis that fatigue and sleepiness among bus drivers are related to road accidents.
Organización Panamericana de la Salud Washington - Washington - United States
E-mail: contacto_rpsp@paho.org