Long-haul truck drivers average between 2,000 and 3,000 miles per week. They drive away from their homes and spend most of their time in or near their rigs. Many eat unhealthy food at fast food restaurants and at truck diners. In addition, their daily routine leaves little time for exercise or recreational activities. The end result of this lifestyle is often obesity and poor health. While this is certainly bad for the affected drivers, it also endangers the public who share the road with them. The “trucker lifestyle” can cause sleep apnea and diabetes, both of which affect the driver’s ability to drive safely and can cause a truck accident.

Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea: central and obstructive sleep apnea. Central occurs when the muscles involved in breathing don’t get the proper nerve signals during sleep. Obstructive occurs when excess tissue in the throat interferes with breathing during sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type afflicting truck drivers, especially those with obesity. During sleep, the throat muscles relax. This allows fatty throat tissue in the obese person to settle into the airways and block breathing. This, in turn, causes the person to partially wake up in order to breathe again. The truck driver falls back to sleep and the cycle repeats throughout the night, preventing him from getting quality sleep. This makes the truck driver drowsy throughout the day and may cause him to fall asleep at the wheel.

When properly managed, truck drivers with this condition can do their jobs safely. The real danger to the public is truck drivers with undiagnosed sleep apnea.

Diabetes

Diabetic truck drivers are allowed to drive provided the condition is controlled through diet or medication. However, the rigors of driving make it very difficult for truckers to manage their diabetes. The temptations of restaurant food may cause some truck drivers to cheat on their dietary plans, or they may forget to pack their medication or get a refill before leaving on a trip.

Failing to control diabetes causes the onset of physical problems that interfere with the ability to drive such as peripheral neuropathy, which is the loss of feeling in the hands and feet. Another problem is retinopathy, which occurs when damaged blood vessels to the eye’s retina cause vision problems and eventual blindness. Lack of sensation in the hands and feet as well as interfere with the truck driver’s ability to safely operate his vehicle.

If you are suffering from a truck accident related injury, the lawyers at Hogan Injury can help. Contact us today.


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