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NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Injuries/Errors (Continued)

An estimated 20% of all automobile accidents may be due to driver fatigue.37 Shift work and long work hours are among the top five factors that increase risk for automobile crashes. Night workers are at high risk.

Another concern is vehicle crashes due to a nurse’s fatigue during the commute home.37-41

car with front fender bender

Groups at Risk for Crashes Due to Drowsy Driving42

  • Workers with night, rotating shift, or long hours
  • Commercial drivers
  • Business travelers who spend hours driving or are jet-lagged
  • Young drivers, especially young men
  • People with untreated sleep disorders

The legal system has penalized drivers who fell asleep while driving and killed another person. In one case, a bus driver was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving for failing to control his vehicle. He fell asleep while driving, causing the bus to crash. Four passengers died and 49 were injured.43 In New Jersey, a person who drives after being awake for 24 hours or more and causes a fatality can be convicted of vehicular homicide.44

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