Sleep Apnea Tests and Treatment for Drivers May Prevent Tragic Truck Accidents
Drowsy driving is a huge problem in our country. Truck drivers who are allowed to drive 11 hours per day often suffer from drowsy driving, especially if they violate federal regulations by driving for even longer to make their destinations.
According to a Governors Highway Safety Association report in 2016, drowsy driving is estimated to be the cause of up to 20 percent of all truck accidents—both fatal and nonfatal. In an effort to combat this problem, the Medical Review Board of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) is recommending certain truckers be tested for sleep apnea and, if the condition is severe enough, be banned from driving.
Which Truckers May Need Sleep Apnea Testing?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder during which a person can have one or more pauses or shallow breathing periodically while sleeping. This can move the person from deep to light sleep and make the quality of his sleep poor. While lack of quality sleep impacts anyone at work, this characteristic is extremely dangerous for a trucker.
Under the rules proposed by the FCMSA, truckers with the following factors would be required to be screened for sleep apnea:
- They have a body mass index greater than or equal to 40.
- They have a body mass index of 33 or greater and also three indicators on a list of criteria that includes:
- Older than 42
- Male or a postmenopausal woman
- High blood pressure
- A history of heart disease
- Male truck drivers who are 42-years-old or more and have a body mass index of 33 or greater would qualify for testing with only one of the above criteria.
Truckers who have sleep apnea would only be allowed to drive if they received consistent, effective treatment that regulated their moderate-to-severe sleep apnea to a better level. This improvement needs to be confirmed by a certified sleep specialist. Furthermore, truckers with any level of sleep apnea would need to be certified annually.
While these regulations could make your family and you safer on the roads, you may still be injured in an accident caused by a drowsy or otherwise negligent truck driver. If you need to hold a trucker and trucking company accountable for compensating you, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.
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