Truck Drivers and Untreated Sleep Apnea
The health condition called sleep apnea causes a person’s breathing to stop during their sleep. In order to start breathing again, the person will briefly wake from sleep though they may not realize it is happening. This pattern can happen hundreds of times per night, which means that people who believe they got a good night’s sleep may actually have had constant interruptions in their sleep and may have never reached the deeper stages of the sleep cycle. This can cause unexpected fatigue throughout the waking hours.
Many people have sleep apnea that is undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated. This means that they have unexplained fatigue and may not recognize just how tired their body is during their daily activities. This is a particular concern for truck drivers as fatigued driving is a major cause of devastating truck accidents and injuries.
In addition, truck drivers often have many risk factors for sleep apnea, including:
- Alcohol use
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Middle age
- High blood pressure
If fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that an estimated 28 percent of commercial drivers have some degree of sleep apnea. Many more may have as of yet undiagnosed cases.
If sleep apnea is not properly treated, truck drivers may experience substantial difficulty with focus and concentration and may even fall asleep briefly behind the wheel. Falling asleep while operating a large vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds and traveling at highway speeds can result in catastrophic or fatal injuries to other motorists. To prevent fatigue, all truck drivers should be screened for sleep apnea and should seek necessary treatment if diagnosed.
Call for a Free Consultation With Our 18-Wheeler Crash Attorneys Today
The experienced legal team at the office of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law has handled many truck accident cases involving fatigued driving and health conditions. To discuss your situation for free with a highly skilled tractor trailer accident lawyer, please call our office at 800-898-4877 as soon as possible.