Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Considers Monitoring Truck Driver’s Sleep Apnea

The number of Missouri commercial truck accidents has the FMCSA looking at new ways to make the roads safer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the federal body that regulates the trucking industry. The goal of the FMCSA is to reduce the number of truck accidents across the United States. In furtherance of this goal, the FMCSA is studying sleep apnea and how it causes serious truck accidents.

Many over the road truck drivers have developed some degree of sleep apnea which can be directly responsible for causing critical automobile accidents. Due to the highly irregular sleeping habits of truck drivers, a lifestyle which forces them to spend long blocks of time away from home, and a generally unhealthy lifestyle, many truck drivers have succumbed to obesity. Coincidentally, the fast food industry dominates most truck stops, giving truckers few options to eat healthy. Sleep apnea is directly caused by obesity and irregular sleeping habits. According to one study, over 66% of truck drivers are considered obese, with a staggering 28-42% deemed to have obstructive sleep apnea. New legislation is expected which will mandate screening and treatment of those truck drivers suffering from sleep apnea. Treatment includes losing weight, increasing physical exercise and proper use of a CPAP breathing device.

Often, Missouri commercial truck drivers are inadequately trained before being sent out to share the road with other trucks and much smaller, more vulnerable vehicles. One of the most often-cited reasons for commercial trucking accidents in Missouri is fatigue. Although there are federal rules which regulate driving hours, many drivers and their employers circumvent those rules in an attempt to squeeze in more loads.

If you or someone close to you have been injured in an automobile accident involving a truck, an experienced Missouri commercial truck accident attorney is well aware of the laws governing truck drivers as well as the many ways those laws are routinely circumvented. Being diagnosed with sleep apnea requires the truck driver and his or her employer to monitor the condition carefully to ensure the safety of the smaller vehicles on the road, and your personal injury attorney will make sure that monitoring has taken place.

May 2nd, 2011 by Ryan E. Bradley

Ryan Bradley is a trial lawyer and owner of The Bradley Law Firm. He specializes in catastrophic personal injury ad wrongful death cases.

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