It is more dangerous to drive with an undiagnosed sleep condition compared to drink-driving, the RAC report.
Both the RAC and Road Haulage Association (RHA) comment that conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS or OSA) can be a greater impairment than being over the drink-drive limit.
Generally, OSAS makes sufferers feel drowsier than others during the daytime – putting themselves and other travellers at serious risk by increasing their likelihood of losing concentration and falling asleep while driving.
Prof John Stradling, a member of the OSA Partnership Group, said: “It is worth reminding anyone who considers driving with untreated OSAS that the impairment to driving can be considerably greater than exceeding the legal alcohol limit.
“There is high risk of drivers with untreated OSAS losing concentration and falling asleep behind the wheel, leading to injury or death.”
The RAC says that some drivers are currently waiting months for treatment, which can mean they ultimately lose their jobs. It’s also feared that delayed waiting times may also reduce the number of drivers willing to test for the condition.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC roads policy spokesperson, said: “Commercial drivers are vital to the health and growth of the UK’s economy, so it’s only right that those behind the wheel are safe and aware of any health threats that might impair their driving ability.
“Something like OSAS can affect anybody, regardless of ability and experience, which is why we feel it is vital that they have access to fast-track diagnosis and treatment that ensures job security and they are back on the road within a few weeks.”
The RAC states there are drivers who are risking losing their jobs as a result of having to wait for months for suitable treatment. As a knock-on effect, more drivers may well be put off going to get tested for the condition, in fear of being deemed unfit for work.