Medical professionals should be warned not to rely on the driver sleep scale to rule out patients having sleep apnoea, the ATA has said in this submission to the National Transport Commission’s proposed amendments to Assessing Fitness to Drive
The current driver medical standards ask drivers to self-report their own levels of sleepiness using a questionnaire, which then is used to calculate their risk of sleep apnoea.
However, these tests are highly subjective as many drivers may be accustomed to their level of tiredness and consider it completely normal.
Drivers may also feel that their symptoms have a benign cause and will go away quickly, such as having a bad night’s sleep before the test or being in need of a holiday.
The submission also supports the NTC’s proposed amendments to make it clearer for doctors when drivers should be sent for additional audiometry testing and reduce unnecessary referrals.