Truck drivers must maintain schedules that can be quite fatiguing. So in an effort to make sure that truckers do not become drowsy while driving, they are required to make stops for rest and sleep.
But attempting to get proper rest can still be a challenge. Frequently they must try to grab some sleep in compartments aboard their rigs. And getting a refreshing sleep session can be made all the more difficult for drivers who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine states that OSA is a common disorder that affects at minimum 25 million adults in this country, among whom are truck drivers.
Those with OSA do not get effective sleep, but rather are left feeling drowsy, which is a tremendous danger for truck drivers. But there is a form of treatment, called positive airway pressure therapy, that has proven successful in battling the symptoms of OSA. In fact, results of a study revealed that truck drivers who were not issued PAP therapy were five times likelier to be involved in preventable crashes than those who underwent the therapy.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing a rule regarding mandatory OSA testing and treatment for truck drivers. But at present the onus is on the drivers to report their symptoms and seek treatment.
Sleep apnea among truck drivers is considered a serious issue and hopefully the future will see rules that will help the drivers get appropriate care. But as it stands OSA is just one more contributing factor to truck driver fatigue, which is a leading cause of serious truck crashes.
If you or a loved one should be involved in a serious truck accident and require hospitalization, you will likely need compensation for medical expenses and other damages. A California personal injury attorney can help you hold the responsible parties liable and work on your behalf to get you fair recompense.