Safely driving a massive vehicle with loads that can exceed 100,000 pounds requires a great deal of focus, concentration and alertness. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for far too many behind the wheels of big rigs barreling down America’s highways each day.
Statistics show that driver fatigue accounts for some 35-40 percent of all commercial truck accidents, and a new study suggest that much of that fatigue may be due to sleep apnea, a common disorder that causes interruptions of breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can last 10 seconds or more and occur up to 400 times a night. The result – groggy, sleep-deprived workers with limited ability to stay alert, focused and safe behind the wheel.
A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations found that nearly one-third – 28 percent – of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea. That figure represents a significant risk of accident, injury and even death not only to commercial truck drivers, but to everyone traveling the roadways alongside them at any given time.
Federal officials are working to develop new safety rules governing identification, testing and treatment of drivers with sleep apnea.
If you suffer an injury or loss caused by a fatigued or otherwise unsafe driver, get medical treatment and call 800-251-1111 to speak with a truck accident attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell.