Sleep Apnea and Trucking – A Dangerous Combination

It has been more than three years since President Obama signed legislation that requires the operators of commercial vehicles to test their drivers for sleep disorders.

Notwithstanding the tightening up of the rules, sleep disorders like sleep apnea remain a significant problem in the trucking industry.

The stricter regulations mean drivers can face more challenges to get on the road. Given the chronic shortage of drivers in the trucking industry, some unscrupulous trucking companies are cutting corners and playing fast and loose with the safety of other motorists.

sleep apnea is a trucking hazard

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It’s imperative that truckers are mentally and physically fit to get behind the wheel. Truckers who are suffering from sleep apnea must prove the condition is under control.

How Serious Is the Sleep Apnea Issue for Truckers?

A study sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found almost a third of all truckers suffer from some kind of sleep apnea, although many of the drivers have a mild form.

You can still drive if you have sleep apnea but it must be treated to regain a “medically qualified to drive” status. Severe or moderate sleep apnea is likely to disqualify a CMV driver.

Sleep apnea is a medical condition where breathing is interrupted while you are asleep, causing less oxygen to flow into the body and more carbon dioxide to build up in the bloodstream.  Symptoms include chronic fatigue, slower reaction time, and vision problems.

One of the inherent problems is the lack of uniformity of testing across the medical profession. Health care specialists from across the board have different ways of testing and treating the medical condition. This leaves plenty of room for foul play.

Many truckers neglect their health issues with devastating consequences for other road users. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “the rate of preventable crashes was five times higher among drivers with sleep apnea who failed to adhere to CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure] therapy.”

Whenever a truck accident happens, motor carrier companies quickly send their own lawyers and investigators out to the scene of the accident. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you deserve lawyers who’ll fight as diligently on your behalf. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077 or contact us online. We are available 24/7. You will not be billed if we make no recovery.

John Cooper

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