Medical conditions and behavioral patterns affecting sleep are a largely underestimated threat to traffic safety. Unsupervised or even illegal self-treatment of sleep issues by, for example, anti-histamines, cannabis products, or stimulants, questions safe driving and the fitness to drive as well as low compliance/adherence to treatments (CPAP, medication, etc.) of medical conditions, such as OSAS, or narcolepsy. In such cases, Swiss law calls for a medical assessment of the fitness to drive by experts in traffic medicine. With increasing complexity, this medical assessment is escalated in a four-tiered system of qualified experts, ranging from a qualified practitioner to experts in traffic medicine, at, for example, an Institute for Legal Medicine. The following overview provides insight in the Swiss framework of traffic medicine assessments that – with all caveats and potential drawbacks – helps mitigating the risk of sleep-related accidents. For this, we first introduce Swiss traffic medicine and then argue for consistent terms and measurements to assess sleepy driving. A concise summary of those sleep related conditions most relevant in traffic medicine is followed by an overview over potential issues of sleep-medication.
Part of the book: Sleep Medicine and the Evolution of Contemporary Sleep Pharmacotherapy