Commercial truck drivers may be concealing health conditions that put other motorists at risk. One such condition is sleep apnea, which can cause pauses in breathing throughout the night. Sufferers of sleep apnea may wake up multiple times each night and experience excessive daytime drowsiness.
Truck drivers are required to pass health screenings before operating big rigs, but such tests currently depend on honesty. Some drivers may hide conditions that put other people in danger. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration policies have sought to test for and treat drivers with sleep apnea, but have been unable to carry out such regulations.
Truck accidents involving drowsy commercial drivers are horrific and often deadly. In April of 2015, a truck driver with a history of sleep apnea plowed into a line of cars on I-16 in Georgia. Five nursing students who were on the way to their last training shift for the year lost their lives. Had a sleep apnea testing rule been in place, it is possible these students would not have died.
Are Truck Drivers with Sleep Apnea More Likely to Crash?
A recent Harvard School of Public Health study revealed truck drivers with sleep apnea are five times more likely to be involved in an accident. The study should be unsurprising, as driver fatigue is associated with 328,000 auto accidents every year.
Unfortunately, trucks weigh tens of thousands of pounds and are more likely to kill multiple people during collisions. When truck drivers conceal a treatable condition from their employer, and it results in an accident, they must be held accountable.
The Lafayette personal injury attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat have 20 years of experience holding negligent companies accountable for causing accidents.