Circadian sleep propensity and alcohol interaction at the wheel

Sergio Garbarino, Lino Nobili, Pierre Philip, Giuseppe Plazzi, Claudio Campus, Elisa Morrone, Fabrizio De Carli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objectives: The study was aimed at estimating the effect of alcohol consumption, time of day, and their interaction on traffic crashes in a real regional context. Methods: Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) data were collected from drivers involved in traffic accidents during one year in an Italian region and in a control group of drivers over the same road network. Mean circadian sleep propensity was estimated from a previous study as function of time of day. Accident risk was analyzed by logistic regression as function of BAC and circadian sleep propensity. Results: BAC values greater than zero were found in 72.0% of the drivers involved in crashes and in 40.4% of the controls. Among the former 23.6% of the drivers exceeded the BAC legal threshold of 0.05 g/dL, while illegal values were found in 10.4% of the controls. The relative risk showed a significant increase with both BAC and circadian sleep propensity (as estimated from time of day) and their interaction was significant. Conclusions: Due to the significant interaction, even low BAC levels strongly increased accident risk when associated with high sleep propensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1017
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Alcohol consumption
  • Crash risk
  • Driving
  • Sleepiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology


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