As Oliver B. Patton reports for Heavy Duty Trucking, sleep apnea can lead to drowsy driving, which is one common cause of truck accidents, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that truck drivers with a body mass index of 35 or higher should be required to undergo an evaluation for the condition.
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects breathing during sleep, in which breathing stops for anywhere from a few seconds to minutes, occurring many times per hour in some instances. A person affected by sleep apnea may not realize he or she has it, but will experience daytime fatigue and drowsiness because of interrupted sleep.
Those with a high body mass index (i.e. those who are overweight) are susceptible to sleep apnea. Obviously, truck drivers with sleep apnea pose a risk to other motorists and passengers on the road, as a sleepy truck driver could nod off and cause a serious accident.
In fact, according to a Harvard Medical School professor, those with sleep apnea are a staggering 242 percent more likely to get into a wreck while driving, as Patton reports.
Source: FMCSA Proposes Guidance for Sleep Apnea