We depend on the drivers who operate large commercial vehicles to be alert and attentive behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a driver’s health can significantly undermine their ability to safely operate a vehicle. One surprisingly common condition that can have a significant impact on truckers’ likelihood to be in an accident is sleep apnea.
How common is sleep apnea among truckers?
While sleep apnea is a relatively common condition, it is significantly more common among truck drivers. While sleep apnea impacts less than 5 percent of the general population, around 35 percent of truckers have this condition.
How does sleep apnea impact a driver’s ability to safely operate a semi-truck?
Many people may be aware of sleep apnea’s connection to loud snoring. However, they may not be aware of the other ways that this condition can impact a person’s health.
Because sleep apnea involves obstruction of a driver’s airways, it can prevent them from getting the restful sleep they need. They may experience severe fatigue and difficulty concentrating, both of which can directly impact a person’s ability to drive safely. As a result, sleep apnea significantly increases the likelihood of an accident. Some sources indicate that drivers with sleep apnea are as much as 250 percent more likely to be involved in a crash.
Who is responsible for a crash?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers and their employers are legally responsible for ensuring that drivers are not impaired behind the wheel. This includes impairment resulting from illness or fatigue, including moderate to severe sleep apnea.
If a semi-truck driver’s sleep apnea contributed to an accident that caused you or a loved one harm, you may want to explore your legal options. You can hold negligent drivers and carriers responsible for their actions.