According to a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health, truck drivers with untreated sleep apnea are five times more likely to cause a preventable truck accident compared to drivers without sleep apnea. An estimated 9,000 deaths and 220,000 serious injuries can be attributed to large commercial truck accidents due to drowsy or fatigued driving. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that causes sleep to be disrupted by repeated starts and stops in breathing.
Truck drivers with untreated OSA are at an increased risk of daytime fatigue and sleepiness. OSA can also have a negative impact on memory, attention, and executive functioning. Operating a commercial truck requires a great deal of skill and focus. Being deprived of sleep can significantly decrease a driver’s ability to concentrate, thereby increasing the risk of a preventable truck accident.
Are Truck Drivers Screened for Sleep Apnea?
No, truck drivers are not currently screened for sleep apnea as part of the biennial medical fitness examination required to operate a commercial vehicle. OSA is estimated to affect 25 million adults in the United States including twenty percent of commercial truck drivers. Drowsy driving from various causes including OSA is estimated to be a factor in 328,000 motor vehicle crashes each year including 6,400 fatal crashes and 109,000 crashes that resulted in injuries.
Stefanos Kales, a senior author of the Harvard study concluded that “mandating screening, diagnosis, and treatment would reduce large truck and bus accidents, and therefore deaths and injuries among the motoring public.” Even though the FMCSA is considering mandating sleep apnea screening for commercial truck drivers, nothing has been implemented to date.
Holding Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies Responsible for Injuries From Commercial Truck Accidents
Commercial truck accidents result in catastrophic and life-altering injuries for the drivers and passengers of other vehicles. During 2013, seventy-one percent of commercial truck accident fatalities were occupants of other vehicles and seventy-two percent of the injuries from truck accidents were sustained by occupants of other vehicles.
Who is responsible for the injuries sustained in a commercial truck accident?
In many cases the truck driver and/or the trucking company is at fault in a commercial truck accident. A thorough and complete truck accident investigation is required in order to determine cause and identify the liable parties. This is a crucial step in the process of obtaining compensation in commercial truck accident cases.
If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, and other damages. The NoLA truck accident attorneys of The Olinde Firm does not charge for an initial consultation. It is important that you act quickly to preserve your right to receive compensation for your injuries.
Contact our office by calling (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 today for your free case evaluation. You should not be required to bear the financial burden caused by a truck accident. Our attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve from a negligent truck driver and/or trucking company.