Many people in Orange County know what it's like to have trouble sleeping. For some people, getting a good night's rest is a constant struggle that can affect every other part of their daily life. When the person is a semi truck driver, a sleeping disorder can have deadly consequences.
According to a study that the University of Pennsylvania conducted, about 28 percent of commercial truck drivers have some form of a sleeping disorder known as sleep apnea. This disorder causes the person to have intermittent breathing problems while they sleep. Sleep apnea can be a life-threatening problem, and it can also deprive the person of getting adequate nightly sleep.
So what are the dangers for truck drivers who have sleep apnea, does the disorder cause truck accidents? If the driver doesn't get treatment for sleep apnea, they may have difficulty staying awake and alert while on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that many people who have sleep apnea claim to never fall asleep at the wheel. Even if that is true, however, the FMCSA cautions that a truck driver doesn't have to fall asleep to cause a truck accident.
A truck driver who has sleep apnea may be able to keep themselves awake while on the road, but they may not be alert and able to react as quickly as they need to for safe driving. The FMCSA suggests that truck drivers who have sleep apnea should get medical treatment so that they can rest better and drive safely. It also warns that a failure to get treatment could render the trucker medically unqualified to drive.
Truck driver fatigue is problem enough without the added potential of a fatal truck accident due to a driver's sleep disorder. If a person is injured in a truck accident, they may want to investigate whether the truck driver had some untreated condition, like sleep apnea, that could have caused the accident.
Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Driving When You Have Sleep Apnea," Accessed on May 3, 2016