Truck drivers with untreated sleep apnea have a five times greater preventable crash risk than those who are being treated or do not have the ailment at all, according to a new study published in the journal Sleep on Monday.
Driving trucks while drowsy is quite dangerous. Even riskier are those with sleep problems.
“It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of all large truck crashes are due to drowsy or fatigued driving, which would account for almost 9,000 fatalities and up to 220,000 serious injuries,” says senior author Stefanos Kales from the Harvard Chan School.
The study involved a total of 1,613 truck drivers diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the same number of control driver participants, who had the same job experience and tenure as per a trucking firm.
The OSA group was recommended to undergo positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy and were provided with an auto-adjust device that could be used both at home or in the truck while driving.
So, what are the findings from this study? Drivers with OSA who failed to adhere to PAP therapy had a five times higher risk of being involved in a preventable crash than those in the matched control group.
The rate of crash risk among those who totally or partially adhered to the therapy were statistically similar to those of the control group.
The most surprising finding of the research is the strength and power of rate increase among drivers with sleep apnea who failed to adhere to the recommended treatment, according to reports.
Commercial truckers undergo physical examinations twice in a year to identify if they are fit for the job, but there are no existing laws that mandate OSA screening or diagnosis, partly due to the lack of studies that evaluate OSA risks among truck drivers.
This article introduces a very interesting topic. Seeing that automobile vs. large truck accidents are often quite tragic, due to the distinction in size between a passenger vehicle and a semi, this new information should help to enforce some new regulations on the trucking industry. Studies have demonstrated that driving drowsy can be equally dangerous as driving drunk, so we hope this proves to the transportation safety sector that it is vital for transportation firms to carry out in-depth sleep apnea assessments and treatment programs to guarantee that their truck driver employees remain awake while driving.
Our Florida Trucking Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know first hand how a trucking accident can affect injury victims and their families. Victims that survive these accidents are usually left to face life changing physical injuries that could leave them requiring around the clock treatment for the rest of their lives. Families that have lost loved ones in these devastating collisions could be left with expensive medical bills, funeral costs, other financial strains and of course, the pain and suffering associated with losing a loved one.
If you have been harmed, or if you have lost someone close to you in a trucking accident anywhere in the state of Florida, please let us help. Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more how we can assist you.