BIRMINGHAM, Alabama. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, as many as 28 percent of commercial truck drivers may suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects a person’s breathing during sleep. The condition can lead to temporary pauses in breathing. Sleep apnea can be life-threatening when it is not diagnosed. For truck drivers, it can also be deadly. According to Trucks.com, truckers with undiagnosed sleep apnea are five times more likely to crash. Because sleep apnea can be so deadly, researchers suggest that drivers be regularly tested for sleep apnea to assess risk.
Sleep apnea can affect a person’s sleep, and therefore impact a person’s ability to drive. Drivers with sleep apnea may suffer from fatigue, even though they believe they have gotten a full night’s rest. Fatigue can affect reaction time and may even result in a driver falling asleep behind the wheel.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, morning headaches, choking while sleeping, sleepiness (even if you’ve slept a full night), irritability, depression, memory problems, and disturbed sleep. Truck drivers with sleep apnea are permitted to keep driving, however, they are required to undergo proper treatment. Yet, moderate to severe sleep apnea could potentially disqualify a driver from holding a commercial license. Drivers may be frightened to seek treatment because they may not want to risk losing their license. At the end of the day, the general public relies on truck drivers seeking treatment and giving up their keys when they are unsafe to drive.
Truck companies have a responsibility to vet their drivers and to encourage drivers to seek treatment for potentially deadly conditions. When companies fail to act or provide proper medical oversight for their drivers, the results can be tragic. If you’ve been personally injured in a truck accident, contact the Birmingham, Alabama semi-truck accident lawyers at Gorham & Associates, L.L.C. Our firm can review truck companies’ policies, a truck driver’s medical history, and the facts of your case to hold drivers and companies accountable when they fail to put safety first.
Some studies suggest that truck drivers may be more at risk of sleep apnea. Why? According to Trucks.com, truck drivers’ lifestyles may increase risk. Heavy weight, smoking, and alcohol use could put a person more at risk of sleep apnea. The driver’s lifestyle is associated with weight gain and smoking. Perhaps, truck companies need to promote better wellness programs? New recruitment programs geared toward drawing millennials to the industry are doing just that. Some truck companies are indeed investing in wellness programs for their drivers. However, not all companies do so, and some actively put their bottom lines over driver health.
However, failing to get treatment can be deadly. Drivers who operate a truck while tired are more likely to crash or fall asleep behind the wheel. If you or a loved one has been in a truck crash, seek help. Visit the personal injury lawyers at Gorham & Associates, L.L.C. at http://gorhamandassociates.com/ to learn more about how you may be able to seek a recovery for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses following a truck accident due to driver neglect or a truck driver’s untreated sleep apnea.