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Truck drivers with sleep apnea at risk for accidents

Truck drivers in Hillsborough work long hours on the road, and they often drive many miles without stopping to rest. Due to the nature of their jobs, commercial drivers who have sleep apnea have a higher risk of being involved in motor vehicle crashes. This condition can make it difficult for truck drivers to stay awake and attentive while they are on the road.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the amount of commercial vehicle operators who suffer from mild to severe forms of sleep apnea is 28 percent. Because truck drivers are more likely to be sleep deprived, sleep apnea can make it even more challenging for them to recognize potentially dangerous driving situations and to respond quickly while they are on the job. Commercial truck drivers may also experience drowsiness and have trouble remaining focused.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that current regulations do not require mandatory testing for signs of sleep apnea during work-related physicals of commercial drivers. Commercial drivers who have sleep apnea and are not receiving positive airway pressure treatment are five times more likely to be involved in avoidable accidents that are serious. To reduce the occurrence of sleep apnea related accidents, one trucking company requires its drivers to complete treatment before they can resume operation of its commercial vehicles. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to the development of other health conditions that may also impact truck driver performance.

Commercial vehicle drivers who have sleep apnea should undergo treatment to reduce their risk of accidents and to make the road safer for all other motorists.

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Busciglio & Sheridan Law Group
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Tampa, FL 33603

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