Dallas, 09/21/2016 /SubmitPressRelease123/
In an industry where truck operators are pressured to make deliveries on time or suffer the consequences, it’s important to take every step possible to keep over-tired drivers off the roads.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is moving slowly but surely toward requiring truck drivers to undergo mandatory sleep apnea screenings.
The agency’s medical review board is holding public hearings about a proposed rulemaking regarding the screenings August 22 and August 23, 2016. If the FMCSA decides to implement mandatory screenings, all commercial truck, and bus drivers, as well as railroad workers, will be required to pass regular screenings for obstructive sleep apnea. Currently, only airline pilots are required to undergo routine sleep apnea screenings.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the sleep disorder, which occurs when a person’s airway becomes blocked during sleep. People who suffer from the disorder don’t always know it’s happening, but they may suspect they have the condition if they consistently wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed.
When something happens to block the airway, the body’s defense mechanisms kick in, jerking the individual awake. This is why many sleep apnea sufferers are known to snore or suddenly jerk or snort in their sleep. Because sleep apnea cuts off the flow of oxygen to the brain, it can be quite dangerous. It can also cause heart arrhythmia and heart attack.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
Certain factors make a person more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. For example, people who smoke or are obese have a higher risk of developing the disorder. Individuals with a thicker neck are also at an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
The good news is that obstructive sleep apnea is treatable. Treatment options include weight loss, certain nasal sprays, better sleep habits, and the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
Drowsy Driving Is a Leading Cause of Truck Accidents
Despite pushback from lobbying groups representing the trucking industry, data shows diagnosing sleep apnea in truck drivers could make a difference in the number of truck crashes.
In 2014, for example, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report stating that 328,000 vehicle crashes were caused by drowsy driving.
In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that a drowsy train driver caused a train derailment that claimed four lives and caused 60 people to suffer injuries.
Investigators also found that drowsy driving was the reason for the 2014 limo bus crash that killed one man and seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan. According to a CNN report, the driver responsible for the crash drove 800 miles to work before he even began his shift.
In an industry where truck operators are pressured to make deliveries on time or suffer the consequences, it’s important to take every step possible to keep overtired drivers off the roads.
Hurt in a Truck Accident? Call an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a semi-truck driver, it’s important to contact a truck accident lawyer right away. These are complicated cases that require the skill and experience of truck crash attorneys. Our 1800 Truck Wreck Atlanta truck accident lawyers are available right now to speak to you. Schedule your free consultation today. Call 1-800-878-2597.
Eberstein & Witherite, LLP
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