ACI - SLEEP STOP project

From national to European level
ACI Jean Todt

International researches pointed out that drowsy driving acts as a concurrent cause of 1/5 road crashes. The Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome, known as OSAS, has been scientifically recognized as the main pathology inducing drowsiness. OSAS is a disease characterized by repetitive episodes of breathing interruption lasting more than 10 seconds.

The Automobile Club d'Italia  (ACI) has achieved the goal to make it possible to introduce OSAS in the Italian legislation. The “Sleep Stop” project, funded by the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme in 2014, and run in cooperation with “Tavolo Tecnico Interdisciplinare Sonnolenza e Sicurezza nei pazienti OSAS”, tackled this problem.

Through this project ACI enhanced the awareness on the phenomenon and contributed to the efforts to reduce the rates of accidents related to drowsy driving. The Italian Club created awareness on a national scale by featuring scientific results, creating informative material and organizing events. The targeted audience, ranging from stakeholders to public authorities, was presented statistics, brochures and questionnaires along with informative video.

Actions have been taken upon various events run throughout Italy with the support of medical staff and trained personal. The Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monza in 2014 was part of the national events where the project had the chance to be showcased.

On January 18, 2016, the Italian press Corriere della sera presented the currently ongoing discussion within the Italian Parliament, over an upcoming introduction of law related to OSAS and its early diagnosis for professional drivers.  

"The European Union has taken an important step - stated the President of the Automobile Club of Italy, Angelo Sticchi Damiani - which guarantees more safety on the roads through increased awareness of motorists on their limits, encouraging assessment of diseases and undervalued often ignored. For years, ACI urges a host of scientific organizations the right classification of all physical disorders that impair the ability of those who are behind the wheel, without blaming those affected or unfairly restrict the right to mobility of individuals. "

Indeed, the European Union adopted a Directive committing Member States to launch by the 31st of December 2015, a law requiring drivers of cars, motorcycles, vans and trucks to be subjected to medical exams. This will law will be applicable for the delivery or renewal of the driving license. The stress is on professional drivers that are the most exposed to OSAS.

Lesson learned: the support provided through the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme to a valuable project endorsed Club-led innovation that, thanks to ACI enduring efforts resulted in a robust and sustainable development of road safety awareness on a local and European level.