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Sleep apnea testing may prevent truck accidents

A truck accident is one of the most horrifying experiences on New Jersey highways. Truck accidents typically involve grave personal injuries because trucks are significantly heavier than the average passenger vehicle. There are many contributing factors to truck accidents including the fact that many truck drivers drive while fatigued. A fatigued driver has significantly less control over his or her vehicle and truck drivers who drive while tired endanger everyone on the road.

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board recently concluded that sleep apnea tests are warranted for obese truck drivers. Obstructive sleep apnea is a contributing factor to fatigued driving because the disorder causes individuals to experience shallow, constantly interrupted sleep that may lead to fatigue.

Sleep apnea is most common in obese people and can create daytime fatigue that leads to serious crashes according to the government advisory boards. The vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association disagrees with the advisory board findings and claims that it is more likely that truck driver fatigue is caused by the difficulty that many drivers have finding places to rest while on a route.

“Every day those who are on the road – their struggle is to find someplace where they can stop and sleep, and where they won’t get bothered, rousted and run out,” the driver’s association VP said.

Regardless of the cause of driver exhaustion, drivers who cause fatigue car crashes are liable for the damages arising out of such crashes. A truck driver’s employer or trucking company may also face liability arising out of a fatigued driving trucking accident.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Sleep Apnea In Truck Drivers: Advisory Panels Recommend Screening For Condition In Obese Drivers,” Amanda L. Chan, Dec. 19, 2012

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