Maryland Trucking Lawyers: Truckers and Sleep Apnea — a Bad CombinationAugust 20, 2012
We handle lawsuits involving truck accidents all over the state. Our accident attorneys have an outstanding record of success representing clients injured in these dramatic accidents, and know a common cause of a truck accident is driver fatigue. New studies reveal dangerous news about that fatigue.
Sleep apnea is a chronic, commonly undiagnosed sleep disorder noted for pauses in breathing. Pauses occur between five and 30 times per hour, with resumption of breathing marked by choking or a loud snoring sound. A factor in high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions, sleep apnea causes daytime drowsiness — a killer in the trucking industry.
Sleep apnea is oxygen deprivation from obstruction of the upper airway during sleep. Risk factors include:
- Over 40 years of age
- Smoking or alcohol use
- Neck size over 17 inches for men, or 16 inches for women
We cannot yet prove sleep apnea causes trucking collisions — but we do know fatigue is a factor in many of these deadly accidents. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) study found:
- Truck drivers suffer sleep apnea at the same rate as the general population
- Relationship between age and obesity has some predictive quality
- Short sleep duration contributes to occurrence of sleep apnea.
FMSCA is studying recommendations for guidelines concerning fatigued driving and sleep apnea. Any driver anywhere operating a vehicle fatigued is dangerous. The FMSCA slogan reads: staying awake means staying alive. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact the Maryland trucking lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. immediately for legal advice.