road traffic accidents

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Rose Wood Hotel, Abu Dhabi on 10th-11th March, 2014.

Road traffic injuries remain a global public health problem. Road accidents cause human tragedies every minute of every day. Nearly 3,400 people die on the world’s roads every day. Tens of millions of people are severely injured or disabled every year. Children, pedestrians, cyclists and the elderly are among the most vulnerable of road users. While many countries addressing the issue of road fatalities and serious injuries caused by road accidents, road safety still remains a challenging problem across the region and throughout the world.

The conference aims to raise the profile of the preventability of road traffic injuries and promote good practices in order to achieve safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles, and safe people.

This worthwhile event will brings together an effective mix of practitioners,leaders, and researchers in road traffic accidents with a focus on understanding the problem and evidence-based, practical, deliverable outcomes which can be adopted in many circumstances. The list of keynote speakers demonstrates the commitment to bringing together global leaders, internationally recognised researchers, and demonstrably successful practitioners.

The conference is an important forum to inspire and connect leaders, decision makers, Health professionals, public servants, academics and advocates, bringing International keynote speakers and participants to seek, develop, and exchange views on what works to prevent road traffic accidents and how best to bring it to fruition in policy and practice for government and the private sector.

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Sleeping Disorders Centre founder, Consultant ENT surgeon Michael Oko, will address senior international healthcare executives, public servants, and academics at the 1st International Road Traffic Accident Conference at the Rose Wood Hotel, Abu Dhabi, on 11th March 2014.

Mr Oko, a UK government advisor on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) strategy, will be speaking about the benefits of preventative treatment in reducing road traffic accidents, using the example of Lincolnshire UK, where traffic fatalities have fallen significantly since sleep apnoea testing and treatment began. Professor Ram Dhillon (Middlesex University and Sleeping Disorders Centre) will also address the conference on “Snoring & Preventable Deaths on the Road: A Common, medically treatable, and often missed cause of Road Traffic Accidents.”

Mr Oko said:

“It is suspected that about 20% of car accidents are sleep related and research has shown that sleepiness can impair driving more than drink! Indeed, patients with OSA have a 7-12 fold chance of a road traffic accident (RTA) compared to those who do not, and results in Lincolnshire have shown that treating the condition can reduce the accident rate dramatically. With the low level of awareness of sleep apnoea in the Middle East it’s no surprise that road accident rates in the Gulf region are high. In fact, road traffic accidents are the second major cause of death in the UAE and there are 3500 fatalities per year from RTAs in Saudi Arabia alone. I believe that the success I have had in Lincolnshire can be replicated in the Middle East by raising awareness of the condition, and forming long-term partnerships with local hospitals, doctors, and government departments.”

Mr Oko has already been very active in bringing this message to the healthcare community in the Middle East. For his work in this area Mr Oko was awarded the Middle East Hospital magazine award for excellence in respiratory care in 2011 and 2013.

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Writing in Arab News, leading sleep apnoea expert, Professor Ram Dhillon of the Sleeping Disorders Centre, spells out the dangers of sleep apnoea. Professor Ram Dhillon and his colleague, Sleeping Disorders Centre founder Michael Oko, will be speaking at the 1st International Road Traffic Accident Conference being held in May 2014 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

“Untreated or inadequately treated OSA is associated with major medical problems. If one considers the OSA event as a strangulation leading to poor oxygen levels to every cell in the body it is easy to understand the detrimental consequences. It may lead to high blood pressure, cause a pre-diabetic state and make existing diabetes more difficult to manage. There is an increased incidence of heart problems such as heart attacks and heart rhythm disorders. There is also an increased likelihood of suffering a stroke and the kidneys can also be damaged. Studies reveal untreated severe OSA will lead to death in 15% of patients and a major heart event in 30 percent over a 12-year period.

“There is an increasing awareness of the relationship between OSA and falling asleep during the boredom of driving, particularly on long straight roads. This is an issue for all road users but is likely to be a much greater problem in the haulage industry.”

• Professor Ram Dhillon is the consultant surgeon at Middlesex University, School of Health and Social Sciences, London. Michael Oko, consultant surgeons and Department of Health Adviser on Sleep Apnea, UK National Health Service, also contributed to this report.

Source: Arab News

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This conference aims to raise the profile of the preventability of road traffic injuries and promote good practices in order to achieve safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles, and safe people.

The Lincolnshire experience

In 2002 they were 104 fatal car accidents in Lincolnshire with a population of 700,000, so the Road safety Partnership (consisting of The NHS, Police and local Council) was formed to try and address and reduce this carnage on the roads. It was successful in reducing this figure to 79 per annum by a concerted effort to raise driver awareness via media messages with a budget of £3 million per annum, but seemed to stall at this figure.

In Lincolnshire we had a perfect storm of (similar in many respects to UAE):

(1) No existent service,

(2) The most obese population in Europe,

(3) Hazardous or dangerous roads

(4) No rail or other transportation infrastructure of note. 

In 2006 an ObstructiveSleepApnoeaservice was commissioned (it affecs 4-6 % of the population) to treat all the drivers that may fall asleep at the wheel and by 2008 fatal RTAs caused 52 deaths per annum and by 2012 it was 39 per annum.

This approach can also be successful in UAE

Sleep apnoea potentially affects 20% of UAE population, It could be responsible for a high number of car accidents, so if it is properly treated there should be a big reduction in car fatalities.

The conference is an important forum to inspire and connect leaders, decision makers, Health professionals, public servants, academics and advocates, bringing International keynote speakers and participants to seek, develop, and exchange views on what works to prevent road traffic accidents and how best to bring it to fruition in policy and practice for government and the private sector

1st International Road Traffic Accident Conference
21-22 November 2013
Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE
www.menaconf.com

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Fleet News reports that the DVLA has produced a document highlighting the facts around driving and obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.

The condition is particularly prevalent among HGV drivers, and excessive sleepiness is thought to be responsible for up to 20% of motorway traffic accidents. The document, which has been developed between the OSA Partnership Group and the DVLA, has taken into account input from clinicians and the haulage industry itself.

Professor John Stradling from the Oxford Sleep Clinic, who contributed to the document, said: “It is vital that we do not push the problem underground by making it difficult for commercial drivers to admit that they have symptoms. Therefore members of the OSA Partnership Group have worked closely with the DVLA to agree a consistent process that highlights the importance and the longer term benefits of seeking treatment quickly.”

Those most at risk of having the condition are overweight middle-aged men and HGV drivers seem to be at higher risk of OSAS. However, OSAS can be fully treated quickly and easily; when the symptoms are controlled, quality of life can improve considerably. However if left untreated OSAS is likely to impact on overall health and wellbeing, and can impact on life expectancy. Ian Gallagher, head of policy for DVLA Policy at FTA said: “We understand from talking to our members that many drivers have concerns about seeking medical advice for fear of losing their licence. However this document provides answers to many questions about OSAS and also offers advice on how to access treatment as quickly as possible.”

The OSA Partnership Group has been established to bring together organisations from the commercial vehicle sector, clinicians, patient groups and those interested in health and safety at work together to raise awareness of sleep apnoea and to address the road safety issues associated with the condition.

Jan Chandaman, acting head of medical licensing policy at the DVLA said: “Our medical team has worked closely with the OSA Partnership Group in order to provide answers that we hope will allay drivers’ concerns if they believe they have symptoms of OSAS, and to encourage early notification of the condition.

“Our concern, first and foremost, has to be the safety of road users – both drivers and others and we want drivers to come forward straight away if they have any symptoms of the condition. Once they are receiving treatment and their symptoms are brought under control, driving can resume without jeopardising their safety and that of other road users. There is a European Working Group in progress on OSA and OSAS which DVLA is a member of and we are awaiting their recommendations on European standards for this condition.”

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WebMD reports on a new study published in the BMJ in which researchers took a close look at the effect of poor sleep on the chance of work-related injuries. They pooled the results of 27 studies, which included more than 268,000 working adults. Through interviews, questionnaires, and doctors’ diagnoses, the studies identified which people had sleep problems. The researchers then looked at whether workplace injuries were more likely among people with sleep difficulties than among those without these problems.

The researchers found a strong link between sleep problems and work injuries. People with sleep difficulties were around 60 percent more likely to have an injury at work than those without these problems. Overall, the researchers estimated that 13 in every 100 work injuries were related to poor sleep.

When the researchers looked at different types of sleep problems, they found that people who had sleep apnoea or took sleep medicines had the highest chance of work injuries. Perhaps surprisingly, the risk of injury related to poor sleep was lower for workers in industrial jobs and other physically demanding work (such as farming, mining, and building) than for workers overall.

This was a well-conducted review of studies, and it should provide a reliable summary of what the current research tells us about sleep problems and work injuries. However, it’s worth noting that the review didn’t include studies looking at poor sleep and driving-related work injuries. If these studies were included, the overall risk of work injuries related to poor sleep could be even higher.

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Drivers with the sleep disorder sleep apnoea are more likely to nod off at the wheel and fail simulated driving tests than motorists without the condition, new research finds. Scientists from the University Hospital in Leeds, England, conducted two studies involving sleep apnoea and driving performance.

In one study, they tested the driving ability of 133 patients with untreated sleep apnea and 89 people without the condition using a simulated driving test. As they navigated the roughly 56-mile course, the “drivers” were assessed on completion, time spent in the middle lane, unprovoked crashes and crashes caused by veering off the road.

Twice as many people with untreated sleep apnoea (24%) failed the driving test, compared to 12% of those who didn’t have the condition. The researchers noted many of the sleep apnea patients couldn’t complete the test. They also had more crashes and had difficulty following a clear set of directions given at the start of the test.

“Driving simulators can be a good way of checking the effects that a condition like sleep apnoea can have on driving ability,” said the study’s chief investigator, Dr Mark Elliott, in a news release from the European Lung Foundation. “Our research suggests that people with the condition are more likely to fail the test.”

In another study, 118 people with untreated sleep apnea completed a survey about their driving behaviour and also took the simulated driving test. Their results were compared to those of 69 people who didn’t have sleep apnoea. More than one-third (35%) of those with sleep apnoea admitted to nodding off while driving. The researchers noted 38% of this group also failed the driving test. In contrast, only 11% of those without sleep apnoea admitted falling asleep while driving. And none of the motorists without sleep apnoea failed the driving test.

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A new study by Italian researchers being published in the Chronic Respiratory Disease journal will show that out of all medical conditions sleep apnoea is the most likely to be the cause of road accidents, and that treating the condition will save lives. The abstract for “Obstructive sleep apnoea, motor vehicle accidents, and work performance”, states:

“The obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) shows a very high prevalence in the middle-age work force population and, between all diseases and medical conditions, is the major risk factor for motor vehicle accidents (MVAs). OSA can be diagnosed and treated, with resultant reduction in MVAs to those seen in the healthy population. It is increasing evidence that it is a major risk factor for occupational accidents also in fields different from the professional transport and for work disability.

“It is likely that the treatment of OSA results in the reduction of occupational accidents and work performance improvement with expected benefits in work processes and business in general. It is therefore advisable to develop strategies for screening and treatment of OSA in workers. The risk assessment of OSA in workers may also help to reduce the burden on national health care systems.”

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People who drive commercial vehicles, such as buses, taxis, trucks and aeroplanes, could be incorrectly reporting their symptoms of sleep apnoea due to their fears of endangering their employment, according to a new study. The research will be presented on 1 September 2012 at the European Respiratory Society’s (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna.
Researchers examined 37 commercial vehicle drivers with sleep apnoea and compared them with a control group of 74 patients. Both groups had similar characteristics of age, body mass index (BMI) and similar numbers of disturbances suffered on average during the night. Both groups also underwent treatment using CPAP. Levels of sleepiness were then analysed using the Epworth Sleepiness Score; a well-established short questionnaire used to give levels of sleepiness during the day time. The survey provides a score, which is the sum of 8 items and can range between 0 and 24.The higher the score, the higher the person’s level of daytime sleepiness.
At the start of the study, commercial drivers reported an average score of 8.1 on the sleepiness scale, compared with an average of 11.0 reported by non-commercial drivers, despite a similar number of disturbances at night between the two groups. The difference was also seen after 6 months of treatment using CPAP therapy with the drivers reporting an average sleepiness score of 4.8 and non-drivers reporting an average of 7.7. The results also showed that drivers received less treatment (only receiving CPAP for an average of 75% of days, compared with 83%) and also had more unscheduled visits to the clinic, which suggests they were struggling with their symptoms.
The authors speculate that the lower scores reported by the commercial drivers could be due to drivers under-scoring their sleepiness levels for fear of losing their licence permissions. Lead author, Dr. Werner Strobel from University Hospital, Switzerland, said: “Our study suggests that commercial drivers are playing down their levels of sleepiness for fear of losing their jobs. Although this is very difficult to prove, both the group of drivers and the group of non-drivers began the study with a similar number of disturbances during the night. You would therefore expect their reports of sleepiness to be similar to begin with, however the drivers estimated their levels of sleepiness as lower than the non-drivers. This pattern continued throughout the course of the study, with drivers reporting lower symptoms, yet receiving less treatment and making more unscheduled visits to the clinic. “We can assume from these results that commercial drivers with sleep apnoea symptoms could be under-reporting their sleepiness in order to protect their job. These results should be taken into account by healthcare professionals who are treating this group of people.”

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