Sleepiness and fitness to drive in patients with obstructive sleep apnea

Chairs: Marisa Bonsignore and Walter McNicholas

 The purpose of this task force is to revise the current literature on OSA with special reference to sleepiness and fitness to drive, in order to provide practical indications on the new EU directive on issuing driving licences in Europe.

The European Lung Foundation (ELF) will be also involved in order to provide the crucial point of view of OSA patients and minimise the risk of encouraging them to avoid seeking medical attention and treatment because of the concern that diagnosis of OSA would compromise their ability to continue driving. In this context, a detailed campaign to educate patients, employers and other relevant stakeholders about OSA-related sleepiness at the wheel is required. This task force will address the following questions:

  1. How should the suspicion of moderate or severe OSA be justified in subjects from the general population?
  2. Are there simple and readily available tools to assess OSA and sleepiness in the population?
  3. What is the consensus on a minimal medical expert standard to establish good compliance to, and effectiveness of, treatment?
  4. Which tests or investigations should be used to certify continued good vigilance?

The task force will also revise the paper by Alonderis et al published in 2008 on OSA and driving regulations throughout Europe, to assess differences between Member States' approach to the problem and the potential for harmonization of practical rules in dealing with driving licensing, of major relevance for European Public Health.