Does Sleep Apnea Cause Commercial Truck Accidents?

It is common for everyone to experience one or more nights of poor sleep during a month. However, for someone with sleep apnea, getting a good night’s sleep is almost impossible unless the person is receiving treatment. Unfortunately, sleep apnea can be life-threatening when a commercial truck driver chooses not to seek treatment for the condition.

How Common Is Sleep Apnea in Commercial Truck Drivers?

A study sponsored by the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations and the  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded that roughly 28 percent or one-third of all commercial truck drivers suffer from mild to severe sleep apnea. The University of Pennsylvania conducted the study.

Drowsy commercial truck drivers pose a danger to everyone on the road. Learning about sleep apnea and the available treatments may help reduce the number of commercial truck drivers risking their lives and the lives of others by driving when drowsy due to sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Thousands of people suffer from sleep apnea in the United States. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH, sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person to suffer pauses in breathing or shallow breathing one or more times while sleeping. The pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. For some people, sleep apnea can cause up to 30 incidents of breathing problems in just one hour.

Because sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing, it disrupts the normal sleep pattern. The result is poor quality sleep that can have adverse effects on the person’s daily activities. If sleep apnea is not treated, it can result in an increased risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, irregular heartbeats, and work-related driving accidents.

Risk Factors and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The following factors increase your risk of developing sleep apnea:

  • Alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Being overweight
  • Having a small upper airway
  • Being over the age of 40 years
  • A small jaw, recessed chin, or large overbite
  • Having a large neck

If you suffer any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to diagnose and treat sleep apnea:

  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Loud snoring
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Disturbances during sleep
  • Excessive sleepiness during the daytime
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Nausea or headaches in the morning
  • Feelings of depression
  • Irritability
  • Frequent urination at night

Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea is very important. The longer a person goes without treatment, the higher the risk for serious health issues that can increase the risk of a motor vehicle accident.

Do You Believe Your Truck Accident Was Caused by Sleep Apnea?

There are many causes of commercial truck accidents. It is important to contact an Erie truck accident attorney as soon as possible so he can begin an accident investigation. Truck accident claims are different from claims involving only regular passenger vehicles.

You must act quickly to identify, protect, and preserve key evidence that will prove liability. Evidence that can disappear or be destroyed includes log books, the truck’s black box, maintenance records, and employment records. Preserving this evidence is crucial to proving fault and receiving compensation for injuries.

If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, please contact The Travis Law Firm by telephone at (800) 401-2066 or visit our website for more information.  You may also request a free legal consultation with one of our Erie truck accident attorneys.