New research has found that eight-in-ten fleet owners believe they would benefit from an increased awareness of sleep disorders, with one particularly devastating disorder being named. Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) currently affects around 10 per cent of the driving population, but occurs more frequently amongst those who drive for a living. Unfortunately, awareness of the condition is still very low amongst businesses that rely on their fleets and, in turn, their drivers. The research was carried out by RAC Business and the OSA Partnership Group in April and found that more than half of businesses (57 per cent) believed they had very little awareness of the condition or the importance of detecting and treating it in their staff. More than 500 UK businesses were surveyed and 80 per cent of them felt that their company could benefit from increased awareness of the symptoms, as well as potential treatments and a general view on how the condition affected sufferers. Middle-age men are the most likely demographic to suffer from the condition, especially those that are overweight and studies on the condition have shown that drivers with untreated OSAS could be up to nine times more likely to have an accident when behind the wheel. A number of highly effective treatments are available on the NHS, however campaigners are concerned about the number of undiagnosed cases. It is also possible that those managing the condition would be unwilling to come forward and admit to it, for fear of losing their licence and as a result their livelihood. Indeed, the RAC business survey found that 80 per cent believed drivers would be unlikely to raise any concerns with their GP or the DVLA. In response to the concerns, the OSA Partnership Group - supported by RAC Business - launched a new initiative in January 2016 to help ensure that professional drivers diagnosed with the condition were fast-tracked for treatment. The initiative also tries to ensure drivers are back on the road within four weeks, but cannot guarantee this: it only provides recommendations for GPs and the fast track is not a legal requirement. The partnership group has now called on the Government and the Department of Health to prioritise both the diagnosis and treatment of OSAS: it's believed that fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel could account for as much as 20% of road accidents in the UK. Jenny Powley, corporate sales director for RAC Business, said: 'What our research shows is that there is clearly a demand for more information and greater awareness among businesses about this condition, which can have devastating consequences if left undiagnosed, both for the driver and other road users. 'When you consider the significant number of commercial drivers affected, and the wider consequences if a driver has an accident due to falling asleep at the wheel, it must surely be a public health priority for the Government, and they have a role to play in ensuring employers are aware.î