Sleep Apnea Major Truck Accident Risk

CPAPTruck drivers who fail to undergo treatment for sleep apnea, or fail to stick with their treatment regimen have a much higher risk of being involved in a truck accident.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is usually linked to obesity. Persons, who suffer from this disorder, may suffer from respiratory disturbances during sleep which leads to disturbed sleep. When a person who suffers sleep apnea is behind the wheel of a massive tractor-trailer, often weighing more than 80,000 pounds, there is a high risk of a serious accident that can result in significant injuries and fatalities.

A new study that was conducted by researchers focused on more than 1,600 truck drivers, who suffered from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleeping disorder that disrupts sleeping patterns when airways close, reducing oxygenation and REM cycle sleeping.  Over time, this disorder can lead to severe fatigue, increased high blood pressure and daytime drowsiness. In the study, truck drivers diagnosed with apnea were prescribed treatment consisting of the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine (CPAP) which keeps the airwaves open during sleep and allowing for better sleep and oxygenation. The researchers then compared the effects of this treatment on those truck drivers who did not suffer from sleep apnea.

The researchers monitored the trucker’s use of equipment that could help with the treatment. Upon analysis, the researchers discovered that the rate of accidents was up to five times higher among truck drivers who suffered from sleep apnea failed to use the CPAP machine, compared to truck drivers who did not suffer from sleep apnea at all. In contrast, drivers who regularly or sometimes used the CPAP machine had an accident risk that was similar to the rate for drivers who did not suffer from sleep apnea.

Truck drivers may be at a much higher risk of sleep apnea, because of lifestyle conditions and health factors, including being overweight, the diameter of a person’s neck, smoking and possibly high blood pressure. The down-side for truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea, beyond the obvious health concerns are that they are much more likely to doze off at the wheel, posing a significant accident risk.

While truckers who suffer from untreated or under-treated sleep apnea are at a higher risk for turnover at their job, the research found that they are also able to obtain new truck driving employment and often hide the fact that they have OSA, which does nothing to protect the driving public.

Persons who have suffered injuries in an accident, no matter the cause, must seek professional legal advice in order to account for all of the damages they have suffered and recover their rightful compensation.

The Indiana truck accident lawyers assist persons injured from around the state. From Fort Wayne to Evansville, the attorneys at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP are dedicated to the representation of persons who have been injured in truck accidents and trailer accidents across Indiana.