Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while an individual sleeps. As many as twenty-two million Americans are thought to suffer from this disorder. Many drivers with sleep apnea often don’t know they have the condition. Drivers suffering from sleep apnea may be less aware of their surroundings – affecting their response time to emergencies. Drowsy drivers may overcorrect, veer out of their lane, or run off the roadway. These conditions place truckers at greater risk of causing devastating wrecks. In fact, truck driver fatigue is one of the nation’s leading causes of truck crashes.
Fatigued driving is a major concern for commercial truck drivers as they spend many hours on the road, often in isolation – creating optimal conditions for fatigue to set in. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strictly regulates driver work and rest times to prevent fatigued driving. However, even if a driver complies with all hours-of-service regulations, they can still become fatigued behind the wheel if they have undiagnosed sleep apnea.
In 2016, the Obama administration finalized a rule that would have required the FMCSA to test commercial drivers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, it was withdrawn at the beginning of the Trump presidency. OSA remains an ongoing concern due to unintended sleep episodes and results in deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, and memory greatly impairing the capacity to safely respond to hazards.
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligent acts, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584 for your free consultation. The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner is the longest-standing personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys are standing by to assist with your claim.