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Is sleep the key to reducing truck accidents?

Recently, there have been many reports in the media regarding the importance of getting enough sleep to staying healthy. Among other things it contributes the one's alertness. While there are many occupations in which being alert is important, this is particularly true where truck drivers are concerned.

Quality of Sleep Affected by Sleep Apnea

Even when a driver goes to bed, and sleeps for a reasonable amount of time, it is possible he or she may not wake well rested. This is could occur if a driver has sleep apnea. Individuals who have this condition may feel drowsy during the day as a result of the normal rest patterns that are disrupted when that person temporarily stops breathing while sleeping.

This is problematic since drowsy driving could lead to a serious crash. Between the years of 2004 and 2013, crash data indicates that in the United States up to 8,900 deaths in traffic accidents occurred as a result of commercial vehicle operators who were tired.

The results of a recent study indicate that a simple treatment could help to decrease the number of trucking accidents in which drowsy driving is a contributing factor. The study involved a comparison between drivers diagnosed with sleep apnea and those who did not have the condition. Of those drivers, the ones who followed a treatment plan for sleep apnea reported crash rates that were similar to those who did not have the condition. Drivers with sleep apnea who did not follow the treatment plan faced risks of crashing that were much higher.

Sleep Apnea Screening Regulation On The Way?

While currently there are no regulations in place to require truck drivers to be screened for sleep apnea that could soon change. Recently the rulemaking process was launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation in regard to driver screening for the condition. In the meantime, some employers are putting their own programs in place to screen, diagnose and monitor drivers with sleep apnea.

If you or a loved one suffered a loss in a crash involving a tractor-trailer in Pennsylvania, legal action could make sense. The law firm of Graham & Mauer, P.C., understands these complex cases. To learn more please contact us online or call us toll free at 866-382-8568.

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