Every year drivers are warned about the risks of driving, risks involving alcohol, drugs, texting and just about any distraction. Another risk that many drivers may think they don't need to worry about is driving while tired, also referred to as drowsy driving. However, a recent study done by an Australian research team has found that almost half of the 517 professional truck drivers that were tested had positive results for sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is characterized as a sleeping disorder where a person may experience abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can range from a few seconds to minutes, they can occur anywhere between five to 30 times or more per hour, greatly affecting the energy level of the person the next day. The problem with the disorder is that many people who have it don't realize they have it, though one of the most common symptoms can be constant fatigue and exhaustion during the day. At the beginning of the study, the researchers asked all 517 drivers if any of them had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. 4.4 percent said they had been. After the tests, results showed 41 percent of those drivers actually had sleep apnea.
"Sleep apnea remains a significant and unrecognized problem in CMV drivers, who we found to have multiple health risks," the researchers wrote in the study. "Objective testing for this sleep disorder needs to be considered, as symptom reports and self-identification appear insufficient to accurately identify those at risk." Though this study was done in Australia, all truck drivers and other drivers as well need to be aware about the condition and risks it creates while driving. Sleep apnea can effect people all over the world. (read full story)
Trucking companies have continued to update their laws and tests in hopes to enforce a safe driving environment both for their truck drivers and other drivers on the road, however, drivers still need to be aware of any symptoms they might have of sleeping disorders. Truck News recently reported that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will most likely begin testing truck drivers for sleep apnea in order to prevent drowsy driving.
If you or a loved one have ever been in a truck or car accident and feel the other driver was at fault by any means, don't hesitate to contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options. At McGartland & Borchardt LLP we have seen and dealt with all types of personal injury cases and feel the work we do will continue to protect future generations of Texans. Feel free to give us a call.
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