New research highlights the danger that truckers with untreated sleep apnea present on the nation’s roadways. Science Daily cited the study, the largest ever conducted to focus strictly on truck drivers with diagnosed sleep apnea.
Seeking Link Between Sleep Apnea and Crashes
Researchers compared years of data regarding sleep apnea therapy and truck accident history, and the findings were dramatic.
Truckers in the study were prescribed positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy to treat their sleep apnea. Since the machines recorded all usage, both at home and in sleeper berths, researchers could analyze the data to determine which truckers had followed their PAP protocols.
Researchers then compared the data to an equal number of truckers (approximately 1,600) in the control group. Truckers that followed, or at least partially followed, their prescribed sleep apnea therapy regimen were involved in serious truck accidents at about the same rate as those in the control group.
More Accidents with Lack of PAP Therapy
However, truckers that ignored their prescribed PAP therapy were involved in five times the number of serious accidents.
Given these statistically significant results, researchers say that regulations should require regular sleep apnea screening whenever truckers go in for government-required medical examinations.
It is possible that a failure to follow one’s prescribed sleep apnea therapy could subject the trucker and his employer to civil litigation when an accident leads to injury and/or death.
If you or a loved one is a victim in a truck crash, it is possible to review the matter with an attorney focused on relevant parts of the law. Our firm will provide such a consultation free of charge. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.