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Is sleep apnea a problem for commercial truck drivers?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2021 | Truck Accidents |

Any motorist should hope that big truck drivers are able to get quality sleep before taking to the road. A sleep disorder like sleep apnea can disrupt your sleep and cause you to become fatigued even if you have slept for a long period of time. For truck drivers, sleep apnea can have dangerous consequences.

Sleep apnea happens when you stop breathing during sleep for at least ten seconds. This may happen multiple times during your sleep. A person who does not even know he or she has sleep apnea could have problems while operating a vehicle.

Truckers and sleep apnea

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cites a study that found 28% of commercial truckers have mild or severe sleep apnea. A number of conditions put people at higher risk of sleep apnea, including heavier weight, drinking alcohol, smoking, being 40 years old or older and a large neck size. Truckers that have poor diets and do not keep up their health only boost their chances of sleep apnea.

The effects of sleep apnea

A truck driver that suffers from sleep apnea may get behind the wheel in an exhausted state. This can put the trucker at increased risk of inattentiveness while driving. Given how small other vehicles are in comparison to a big truck, this could result in a collision. Also, a fatigued driver loses some ability to react quickly. A commercial trucker may not react to the presence of a smaller vehicle in time.

Some truck drivers have to drive for many hours. A fatigued driver could fall asleep due to the monotony of the drive. This is almost certain to result in a dangerous collision that could injure one or more parties.

A correct diagnosis may lead to treatment

The good news is that sleep apnea is a treatable condition, so truckers should feel encouraged to visit a doctor to make sure they are fit to drive. Even if FMCSA suspends a trucker’s privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of interstate commerce, the trucker may regain their privileges upon successful treatment.

The actions of a trucker to maintain the ability to drive safely can be crucial for your wellbeing. If a truck driver causes you serious injury, you might face drastic changes in your life and you may decide to seek damages as a result.