Untreated Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Truck Crashes
Many factors can cause semi-truck accidents. One is drivers who have untreated sleep apnea. This condition can cause drowsy driving problems such as lack of concentration and increased reaction times. If you think a truck driver with sleep apnea caused your accident, seek legal help.
A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and sponsored by the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveals that mild to severe sleep apnea impacts nearly one-third (28 percent) of commercial truck drivers. Considering how many big rigs are out on the road every day, this is a shocking and dangerous statistic. However, it is just one of the many factors contributing to semi-truck accidents that a Round Rock truck accident lawyer can investigate.
What is Sleep Apnea?
This condition is a sleep disorder characterized by short periods of interrupted breathing while sleeping. In some individuals, their breathing stops for 10 seconds or more up to 400 times during one night. Although sleep apnea is often undiagnosed, it can be life-threatening and impact the abilities of those affected by it.
Driving and Sleep Apnea
Truck drivers who have sleep apnea rarely get a good night’s sleep leading to difficulties staying awake during the day, problems with visual focusing, and longer reaction times. Individuals with sleep apnea are more likely to have vehicle accidents caused by fatigue. Even those who do not fall asleep while behind the wheel still suffer from decreased alertness and inattentiveness directly linked to lack of sleep. Fatigue and sleep apnea is no excuse for causing an accident. A seasoned Round Rock truck accident attorney will hold truck drivers and their carriers accountable for any damages they cause.
Can Truck Drivers Still Drive if They Have Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is not addressed explicitly in FMCSA regulations. However, these regulations state that anyone with a medical history or clinical diagnosis of any disorder that could interfere with their driving abilities shouldn’t be medically qualified to drive commercially in interstate commerce. Additionally, motor carriers can’t require or allow truck drivers to drive a commercial vehicle if they have any condition that impacts the safe operation of a vehicle. Untreated sleep apnea is one of these conditions.
Sleep apnea can be treated successfully. Once a truck driver addresses this problem and receives appropriate treatment, they are once again allowed to drive.
Schedule a Case Review with a Round Rock Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Semi-truck drivers need to take their health seriously. If they don’t, they are potentially putting everyone in their path at-risk for severe and fatal injuries. Commercial carriers who knowingly allow their drivers to work with untreated conditions can also be held liable in an accident. Due to the severity and complexity of big rig accidents, it’s essential that you have legal representation when pursuing compensation.