Recent research published in the medical journal “Sleep” found that truck drivers with untreated obstructive sleep apnea are involved in preventable collisions at a rate five times higher than truck drivers without sleep apnea. Schneider International, a trucking company based in Wisconsin, implemented a program that required its drivers to be monitored for obstructive sleep apnea. For those diagnosed with the condition, the program offered monitoring, CPAP machines, and requirements for drivers to use them properly and continue to manage their condition. Those who complied with these requirements had the same preventable collision rate as drivers without obstructive sleep apnea.
A drowsy truck driver is a hazard to themselves and all others on the roadway. If you are injured in a collision with a drowsy truck driver, work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for your resulting damages.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Driving Ability
Approximately 25 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes the upper airway to collapse during the sufferer’s sleep, which obstructs their breathing.
Sleep apnea causes the sufferer to wake up throughout the night, preventing them from receiving truly restful sleep. This makes the sufferer tired during the day, which can undermine their ability to perform their job. When a sleep apnea sufferer’s job is to drive for up to 11 hours per day, they can pose a hazard to themselves and to others on the road because they cannot fully focus on the task of operating a large truck.
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can help an individual with sleep apnea sleep. A CPAP machine works by blowing air into the sufferer’s throat to keep their airway open, preventing short breaths and difficulty breathing.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Being drowsy makes it difficult to pay full attention to the roadway. An exhausted driver’s eyes might close every few moments, putting them at risk of causing a truck accident. The driver’s ability to judge their surroundings and respond to hazards in the roadway is also compromised, much like these capabilities are compromised when one drives under the influence of alcohol. But in one way, driving drowsy is more dangerous than driving drunk because there is no officially recognized cutoff for “too tired to drive.” It can also be easier for an individual to overlook their symptoms of exhaustion than it is to overlook symptoms of intoxication because the dangers of drunk driving are so widely publicized. It is also not a criminal offense to drive drowsy. A drowsy driver can be charged with careless or reckless driving, but there is no equivalent to a DUI for drowsy driving.
Cherry Hill Truck Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Represent Victims Injured in Collisions with Drowsy Truck Drivers
If you have been injured in a collision with a drowsy truck driver, you have the right to seek monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more, fill out our online form or call 856-414-0010 to set up your initial consultation with our team of Cherry Hill truck accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law. Our office is located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and we work with clients from Philadelphia and South Jersey.