Sleep Apnea and Truck Accidents: What You Need to Know

Research recently published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that people with obstructive sleep apnea are at greater risk of being in a motor vehicle crash [1]. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that people with sleep apnea were 2.5 times more likely to be a driver involved in a motor vehicle accident [2]. 

Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s breathing abruptly stops while sleeping. This can lead to increased fatigue, disruption in a person’s natural sleep cycle, and exhaustion upon waking. Sometimes people suffer from sleep apnea and don’t even know it. They just feel tired when they wake up. Sleep apnea takes many forms. With obstructive sleep apnea the throat muscles relax while sleeping, and central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing while you are asleep. There is also complex sleep apnea, which may include a combination of these factors.

The good news is that patients with sleep apnea can reduce their risk of car and truck accidents by using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy at night. Researchers found that when patients used CPAP therapy, they were 70 percent less likely to be involved in a car accident or truck accident.

This information is crucial when it comes to evaluating the causes of truck accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as many as 28 percent of truck drivers might have mild or moderate sleep apnea [3]. 

Truck drivers have a responsibility to regularly undergo medical examinations, but if sleep apnea isn’t properly diagnosed or tested, or if truck drivers diagnosed with sleep apnea don’t take steps to treat their condition, they could be getting behind the wheel fatigued, or putting other drivers on the road at risk. While Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration laws don’t specifically bar a driver diagnosed with sleep apnea from getting behind the wheel, if a truck driver has a sleep apnea diagnosis and isn’t using a CPAP machine, he or she could be putting other drivers and passengers on the road at risk.

A truck accident lawyer in Boca Raton, Florida at Bernstein Polsky may be able to help you if you believe a truck driver’s negligence or fatigue resulted in your crash. We can evaluate the truck driver’s medical history, determine whether he or she was receiving treatment for sleep apnea, and ask the crucial questions that need to be addressed to see whether the truck driver involved in your crash was using a prescribed CPAP machine, or was failing to use it. If you or someone you love was hurt, contact Bernstein Polsky, a truck accident lawyer in Boca Raton, Florida today.

Firm contact info:
Bernstein Polsky
95 South Federal Highway, Suite 200
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
561-861-1818
https://bpinjury.com

[1]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792976/
[2]: https://aasm.org/risk-of-motor-vehicle-accidents-is-higher-in-people-with-sleep-apnea/
[3]: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/driver-safety/sleep-apnea/driving-when-you-have-sleep-apnea 

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