Microsleeping due to sleep apnoea
One of the most common causes of road traffic accidents
Stinging eyes, severe fatigue, eyelids closing for short periods - these are clear indications of microsleeping, a life threatening condition. In many cases, it is caused by so-called obstructive sleep apnoea, which develops from an obstruction (blockage) of the airways.
According to experts, microsleeping while driving is responsible for up to 25% of the accidents in road traffic; a study by the HUK even claims that it causes 50% of fatal traffic accidents. This means that this momentary sleep is one of the most common causes of accidents, even higher than the figures for alcohol or drug-related accidents. The German Road Safety Council states that every fourth fatal accident on German motorways can be traced back to microsleeping. Hardly surprising when you consider that if the driver is driving at the recommended motorway speed of 130 km/h, he covers 36 metres blind during microsleep. These accidents caused by over exhaustion result in economic damage estimated at approx. 20 billion euros in Germany alone.
Despite these facts, sleep apnoea is often wrongly diagnosed by doctors and consequently wrongly treated or not treated at all.
This is a big problem, especially for drivers. Hannover District Court decided that the driver’s own damage insurance does not have to pay if the accident was caused by microsleeping as a result of sleep apnoea. Because untreated sleep apnoea sufferers should not drive a car. At worst, there is a chance that they could lose their driver’s licence.
A further issue is that microsleeping that results in an accident is even recognised as an offence in Germany. According to paragraph 315c of the German Criminal Code, this is a danger to road traffic, which is subject to a prison sentence of up to 5 years or a fine. Sleep apnoea sufferers who cause an accident due to their illness, are regularly disqualified from driving in road traffic.
To avoid this risk, a specialist should be consulted if there is a suspicion of sleep apnoea. Because treated sleep apnoea provides legal protection and gives you a clear conscience when driving in road traffic.
Sleep apnoea can now be cured with a pain-free operation. During this operation, the upper airway is permanently enlarged by moving the upper and lower jaw forward.
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