Truck driver fatigue is often cited as a primary contributing factor in truck accidents. Getting proper rest is absolutely imperative for truck drivers. Big rig trucks are so large and powerful that they could cause serious damage if the driver nods off for even just a couple of seconds. To this end, federal regulations demand that truck drivers take mandatory rest and sleep breaks.
Ideally, if drivers abide by the hours of service rules, they will be safe to drive. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A truck driver who suffers from obstructive sleep apnea could follow the rules to the letter yet still be too fatigued to drive safely.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes a person to experience periodic breathing interruptions while sleeping. Those who suffer from sleep apnea are typically left feeling drowsy rather than refreshed by their sleep sessions. And it is estimated by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine that over 20 percent of truck drivers are affected by the disorder.
Moreover, the results of a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that truck driver sleep apnea is a serious public health issue. In fact, the study concluded that truck drivers who had sleep apnea that went untreated were five times more likely to be involved in preventable collisions than those drivers who did not have the condition.
A fatigued truck driver presents serious safety issues for everyone on the road. Hopefully, there will be more attention given to the issue of sleep apnea within the trucking industry. In the meantime, it is likely that it will continue to contribute to serious truck accidents involving passenger vehicles.
When a truck accident happens, it is important that its cause is determined. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident, you may want to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. The sooner the attorney is informed of your situation, the sooner an investigation can be started. In turn, you may have a better chance of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and other damages.