No one can argue that truck driving is a tiring job. The occupation may not always require heavy lifting, but it does require driving for long stretches of time while remaining alert, something that can be difficult to do. According to a study released by the University of Minnesota, Morris, commercial truck drivers who have obstructive sleep apnea and do not adhere to their treatment protocols are at five times greater risk of crashing.
Sleep apnea, a disorder that causes people to momentarily stop breathing when they are asleep, causes daytime sleepiness. This, in turn, can result in drivers who are too fatigued to be on the road. Obstructive sleep apnea is estimated to affect nearly 25 million adults in this country.
For the study, researchers looked at 1,613 truck drivers diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and 1,613 drivers without the disorder. They looked at drivers with similar experience and approximately the same number of hours on the road. The drivers with obstructive sleep apnea were all given the same prescribed therapy. Close to 700 drivers followed the treatment, 600 followed it partially and 400 did not follow it t all.
The rate of preventable accidents among truck drivers who did not follow their prescribed obstructive sleep apnea therapy was five times greater than those who did. Those drivers who only partially followed the therapy had a crash rate similar to those who followed it completely.
The study shows that untreated obstructive sleep apnea is a danger to transportation safety. The recommendation of researchers is to screen all potential commercial truck drivers for the condition and to treat those who are found to have the disorder. Both the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that they would be gathering more information on the effects of obstructive sleep apnea on their workers.
If you have been involved in a truck accident in Charlotte, you need an experienced attorney like Auger & Auger on your side. Call our team of accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation and discover your options. We are here for you. Call today.