Quarter of Dutch motorists guilty of sleep-deprived driving

More than a quarter of Dutch motorists are occasionally guilty of sleep-deprived driving. Nearly 60% of them continue to drive when drowsy, according to in a survey by the Dutch Association for Sleep and Wake Research (Nederlandse vereniging voor Slaap- en Waak Onderzoek, NSWO).

National Sleep Week

Ten per cent of motorists are so sleep-deprived that even they themselves consider it dangerous to drive. These are the most striking findings of a recent survey conducted by the Dutch Association for Sleep and Wake Research (NSWO). Psychologist Kristiaan van der Heijden from the Leiden Institute of Education and Child Studies is the research leader and a member of the board of this association. The above results come from a recently conducted national survey among more than 1,500 Dutch citizens and will be announced officially during the National Sleep Week from 16 to 21 March.

Sleep-deprived driving

Van der Heijden describes the results as alarming: more than a quarter of Dutch motorists confess to occasional sleep-deprived driving, and one in 10 confesses to being so drowsy that they consider driving to be dangerous in their condition.

Leaving the car at home?

A third of Dutch motorists, on the other hand, do leave the car at home when they feel too drowsy. More than 17% indicate that they do drive despite feeling very drowsy. The remaining 50% did not provide a clear answer to this question. In cases when motorists become drowsy while driving, nearly 60% of them drive on.

The consequences

According to Van der Heijden there is sufficient scientific evidence to claim that even one night of poor sleep can have negative consequences for a person’s psychological functioning (in particular their concentration) and consequently also fortheir ability to drive. Drowsy motorists should immediately take appropriate measures, he says. These might involve taking a power nap in a car park, and most importantly changing unhealthy sleep habits, such as using tablets and smartphones in bed, and consuming alcohol shortly before going to bed.

(16 March 2015)

Studying in Leiden

Pedagogische Wetenschappen 

Education and Child Studies

Last Modified: 07-01-2016