Driving safety among Israeli military physicians in combat units

Or Shmueli, Gali Zabarsky Shasha, Tova Rosenbloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objective of this study was to characterize driving safety and the factors affecting it among physicians in combat units in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), who have high workloads and substantial sleep deprivation, which could influence driving safety. Methods: This cross-sectional study included physicians in combat units who had a personal vehicle equipped with an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). The study outcomes included events such as drowsy driving or falling asleep while driving, as well as motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), obtained from self-reports from digital questionnaires, and objective ADAS driving safety scores. Sleep hours, burnout scores (Maslach Burnout Inventory), combat activity levels, and demographic characteristics were obtained through digital questionnaires, and their effects on the outcomes were analyzed. Results: Sixty-four military combat unit physicians were included in the study. No differences in drowsy driving, MVAs, or ADAS scores were found between the 2 combat activity level groups. The results showed that 82% of participants reported dozing off while driving, and this was positively correlated with accelerations (β = 0.19; P =.004) and negatively correlated (adjusted R 2 = 21%) with hours of sleep (β = −0.28; P =.001). Eleven percent reported experiencing MVAs, none of whom required hospitalization. The mean ADAS safety score was 87.17 ± 7.54, and this was positively correlated with the cynicism score (β = 1.45; P =.04; adjusted R 2 = 4.7%). No association between dozing off/falling asleep while driving and the reported MVAs was found (P =.10 and P =.27, respectively). Conclusion: Physicians in combat units have a low incidence of MVAs and high ADAS scores. This may be attributed to the high safety climate enforced in military units. However, the high rate of dozing off while driving highlights the importance of addressing driving safety in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-502
Number of pages7
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Military physicians
  • advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)
  • burnout
  • driving safety
  • hours of sleep


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