Sleep apnea a serious issue facing truck drivers

Many people are aware of the serious consequences of truck drivers being on the road while tired or drowsy. However, when a truck driver is one of the 25 million people in this country who suffers from a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea, the dangers are even greater according to Safety and Health Magazine.

OSA is a condition where a person repeatedly stops and begins breathing while they are sleeping. As a result, sufferers often end up feeling sleepy during the daytime and when they get behind the wheel, bad things can happen.

In fact, a recent study found that truckers with OSA are five times more likely to be involved in a crash if they do not follow the treatment prescribed by their doctors. When the proper therapy was used, the crash rates for drivers with and without OSA were comparable.

This is why, according to Business Insurance, some have been advocating for required screening of truck drivers for conditions such as OSA. A joint effort by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration resulted in the recent notice of a proposed rule that would make testing, evaluation and treatment for sleep apnea mandatory for rail workers and truck drivers. Opponents of this measure argue that diagnosing sleep apnea is a long process, which may not be conducive to the schedules many truck drivers are faced with. But if such legislation is enacted, it may one day prevent serious crashes involving tired truckers from occurring.

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