The 1st edition of SomnoSafe took place in Brussels, Belgium, in February 2014, with the full name of "International Symposium on Somnolence & Safety". As this name indicates, the original event was focused on the topic of "somnolence & safety".
This inaugural event consisted of two successive conferences (SomnoAlert and SomnoPro) and satellite events. SomnoAlert consisted of presentations related to contributed, peered-reviewed, and accepted abstracts, whereas SomnoPro consisted of invited presentations. Even though SomnoSafe 2014 was a brand-new event and had to build its reputation, it quite rapidly became a success and was attended by many of the world's top experts in the field of "somnolence & safety". The success of the 1st edition motivated us to plan a 2nd edition.
In the two years between the preparations of 1st and 2nd editions, our thinking evolved, and it became clear that it would be desirable and useful to extend the topic of "somnolence" (or "drowsiness") to that of "vigilance" (including all levels of vigilance). It is indeed clear that a state of reduced vigilance generally has an impact on safety, and that such a state of reduced vigilance can be caused by several conditions, such as somnolence/drowsiness and distraction. This is why we gave to the 2nd edition of SomnoSafe the full name of "International Symposium on Somnolence, Vigilance, and Safety".
The initial idea of organizing the SomnoSafe Symposium came from the realization that there was, around 2013, no event fully dedicated to the topic of "somnolence & safety". This is still true today both for the "somnolence & safety" topic of the 1st edition, and for the extended "vigilance & safety" topic of the 2nd edition.
Before the advent of the SomnoSafe Symposium in 2014, professionals interested in the specific topic of "somnolence/vigilance & safety" had to attend several (very) large international events, generally in the domain of "sleep", where they would then have to sift through hundreds of papers to find a few that would answer their needs.
Since 2014, SomnoSafe has become "the place to be" for virtually everything in the area of "vigilance & safety".
Independently of the need for an event on "vigilance & safety", this topic of "vigilance & safety" - which includes that of "somnolence/drowsiness & safety" - is of paramount importance.
Somnolence is indeed a major cause of accidents in many situations, such as driving and the supervision of industrial plants.
Somnolence is, e.g., responsible for 20 to 30% of all accidents on highways, and, in France, for about 90,000 road accidents per year. Furthermore, 6 to 11% of people naturally suffer from (chronic) excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)! Drowsy driving is thus - undoubtedly - a major issue of public health and safety.
You'll find some useful information about accidents due to somnolence on the Press info page.