Did sleep apnea cause your truck accident?
As scary as it sounds, the truth is that truck accidents occur all the time, and they have numerous causes. Poor truck maintenance, insecure cargo, and intoxication can all pose serious risks to other drivers. But tired and fatigued driving can be just as dangerous, which is why sleep apnea receives a lot of attention in the trucking industry.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes an individual to wake up as many as 400 times per night due to breathing disruptions. An over-relaxed throat or a failure of the brain to properly direct the respiratory system can lead to these breathing disruptions.
Why is sleep apnea dangerous?
Those who suffer from sleep apnea become extremely fatigued, which can decrease their driving abilities, including attentiveness and reaction time. In fact, one study found that truckers who suffer from sleep apnea can be nearly five times more likely to be involved in a truck accident compared to those who don’t suffer from the condition. As if that isn’t frightening enough, it’s estimated that nearly a third of all truckers suffer from sleep apnea.
Although an individual who suffers from sleep apnea shouldn’t drive a truck until he or she is medically cleared, federal regulations currently don’t require testing for sleep apnea. Therefore, there are likely numerous truckers out there who have been affected by this condition and have not taken the proper steps to correct it. This puts motorists like you at risk.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a tired or fatigued trucker, then you need to work to find accountability. This may include analyzing the trucker’s medical records and his or her employer’s human resources records to determine if appropriate steps were taken to ensure motorist safety. If they weren’t, then you can strengthen your personal injury claim against both the trucker and his or her employer.
If you’d like to learn more about how to assess the circumstances underlying your case and how to use them to build a compelling legal claim, then you may want to think about reaching out to an experienced attorney for assistance.