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Sleep apnea testing aims to cut down on truck crashes

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2017 | Truck Accidents

Ohio truckers may have to undergo more testing or deal with regulations regarding sleep apnea following an April U.S. Supreme Court decision. In the case, a driver appealed a decision by a lower court that ruled that his employer had a right to require him to be tested for sleep apnea. The company, Crete Carrier Corp., required that workers with a body mass index of 35 or higher be tested. The man refused to take the test, so he was fired.

Sleep apnea is a disorder where a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts while he or she is sleeping. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. Some causes of this condition include obesity, diet, smoking or poor sleep problems. OSA is of particular concern in truckers because it causes fatigue, which could lead to drowsy driving and truck crashes.

Truck driving is an occupation that could lead to the development of sleep apnea. It is a solitary, sedentary job that often involves a disordered sleep schedule, making it easy for someone to become obese. Drivers with untreated OSA have a rate of preventable accidents five times higher than those without the disorder. Research shows that as many as 20 percent of all large-truck crashes are caused by tired drivers.

Currently, there are no federal regulations relating to sleep apnea in truckers. Two federal advisory committees have recommended that drivers with a BMI at or over 35 should be required to get tested for the condition. Truckers with the disorder would also be obligated to receive treatment.

A semitruck or 18-wheeler can cause devastating personal injuries in a crash. Driver fatigue could be a significant factor in a lot of these types of accidents. A lawyer may be able to help truck accident victims review the situation and seek compensation when negligent or faulty driving causes personal injury.