Maryland Trucking Lawyers: Truckers and Sleep Apnea — a Bad Combination

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:

  • Overweight
  • 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.