Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • Published: J Clin Sleep Med. December 15; 5(6): 573–581 (2009)
  • Authors: Tregear S, Reston J, Schoelles K, Phillips B.
  • Date Added: 29 Dec 2013
  • Last Update: 29 Dec 2013
  • Format: html


Determining whether individuals with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) are at an increased risk for a motor vehicle accident when compared to comparable individuals who do not have the disorder. A secondary objective involved determining what factors are associated with an increased motor vehicle accident risk among individuals with OSA.


Literature review searching MEDLINE, PubMed (PreMEDLINE), EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, TRIS, and the Cochrane library. Evaluated the quality of each study and the interplay between the quality, quantity, robustness, and consistency of the body of evidence, and tested for publication bias. When appropriate, data from different studies were combined in a fixed- or random-effects meta-analysis.

Key Findings:

  • Individuals with OSA are clearly at increased risk for accident.

  • The mean accident-rate ratio associated with OSA is likely to fall within the range of 1.21 to 4.89.

  • Characteristics that may predict accident in drivers with OSA include BMI, apnoea plus hypopnea index, oxygen saturation, and possibly daytime sleepiness.


Crash, driver, commercial motor vehicle, sleepiness, obesity


This research not only shows that people suffering from OSA are at increased risk of being involved in an accident, but also that the increased risk can, in some ways, be predicted through an awareness of specific medical conditions.