Australian Researchers Are Developing A Blood Test To Detect Sleepy Drivers

How a recent study can improve our world


By: Sydney Kiffney , Journalist

A team of researchers led by the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University identified five biomarkers in the blood that can see if an individual has been awake for 24 hours.

These biomarkers are from different parts of the body but are not metabolites, thereby reducing the likelihood that they will be impacted in the case of a vehicle crash. When tested in more real-life situations, the accuracy of the test dropped to 90 percent but is still fairly high.

The researchers are currently working to improve the test so that it can quantify the number of hours an individual may have slept, prior to taking it. Anderson is of the view that such a test could be conducted alongside alcohol and drug tests following a vehicle crash. Portable tests that could determine sleepiness on the road could take another five years to arrive, the researchers told The Guardian. 

Currently in the U.K., professional drivers are required to maintain work and rest logbooks that the police take into account in the event of a crash. However, proving that a crash was a result of driver fatigue is challenging. A blood test, when available, could be extremely handy.

However, not all researchers are convinced. Some believe that refusing work due to a sleepiness test is a luxury many cannot afford. Instead of looking to penalize drivers after the damage is done, experts suggest that more work is needed to alleviate tiredness by improving work schedules and reducing long working hours for individuals.

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