ABC News Corona Virus Health and Science

Driver in crash may have passed out from wearing N95 mask too long: Police

Police said the driver is believed to have worn an N95 mask for too long.

The driver of a single-car crash in Lincoln Park, New Jersey, is "believed" to have passed out behind the wheel after wearing an N-95 mask for too long, police said.

"The crash is believed to have resulted from the driver wearing an N95 mask for several hours and subsequently passing out behind the wheel due to insufficient oxygen intake/excessive carbon dioxide intake," the post read in part.

After the police published the post, several commenters questioned the legitimacy of the images and the information provided from the accident report.

"Considering the overwhelming response this post has received, the following should be said," the updated caption began. "As it relates to this specific incident, we reiterate that police officers are not physicians and do not know the medical history of every person we encounter... It was stated in the original post that we 'believed' the excessive wearing of an N95 mask was a contributing factor to this accident. While we don't know this with 100% certainty, we do know that the driver had been wearing an N95 mask inside the vehicle for several hours and ultimately passed out while operating the vehicle."

The police continued the post by confirming that the driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and enforced that New Jersey residents should continue to following Governor Phil Murphy's directive to wearing face coverings.

"All this being said, It is certainly possible that some other medical reason could've contributed to the driver passing out. We are not trying to cause public alarm or suggest wearing an N95 mask is unsafe. The original point of the post was to state that in most cases, the wearing of this type of mask while operating a vehicle with no other occupants is unnecessary," the police wrote.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend wearing face coverings while driving, especially, if you're alone in the car. The CDC also does not recommend wearing surgical masks or N-95 respirators as "those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders."

The Lincoln Park Police Department reiterated those CDC guidelines in their original posts as well, along with the hashtags "#besafe #PSA #motorvehiclecrash #covid19 #lppd."

The CDC also does not specify a time frame for wearing a face mask or N-95 respirators, but does give recommendations for first responders wearing N-95 respirators around multiple infected patients.

What to know about Coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: Coronavirus map