Various factors can lead to a truck colliding with another vehicle. Investigations often reveal speeding, reckless operation, and other types of negligence. The advent of smart phones has lead to tragic collisions caused by distracted driving of a tractor-trailer. Far too many crashes have resulted from drug or alcohol abuse.
Sleep deprivation from staying on the road too long or avoiding breaks is also cited as a common cause of 18-wheeler collisions. However, drivers who try to get the rest they need may suffer from a common, dangerous and often undiagnosed sleep disorder.
The Growing Problem Of Truck Drivers And Sleep Apnea
According to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, twenty percent of commercial truck drivers suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. OSA causes a person to pause their breathing while sleeping, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness from a poor night’s rest.
Drowsy driving, in part from this chronic disorder, has played a tragic roll in 328,000 crashes annually.
The Harvard School of Public Health studied 3,600 commercial truck drivers suffering from OSA. Over four years, a segment of participants received automatic pressurized air-devices (APAPs) to treat their condition. Chips were inserted to track usage.
The results revealed that non-APAP users were five times more likely to cause a preventable crash than those using APAPs and drivers not suffering from OSA.
Proactive Steps Can Protect Everyone On The Road
By leaving OSA untreated, truck drivers are doing more than putting their health at risk. They are endangering everyone who shares the road with them.
Regardless of the negligent acts that played a role in a semi-truck accident, legal representation is vital to get to the facts and maximize compensation.
Source: The Huffington Post, Untreated Sleep Apnea Makes Truck Drivers 5 Times As Likely To Crash, Krithika Varagur, March 23, 2016