The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), in association with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), announced that it would hold its 2011 Sleep Apnea Multi-Modal Transportation Conference in Baltimore on November 8 and 9. This conference marked the second in a series of health and safety conferences focusing on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) within major modes of transportation, including ground, air, and rail. The conference sought to bring awareness to this issue in regards to commercial truck drivers.
OSA affects approximately 20% of adults, 90% of who remain undiagnosed. This disorder can cause sleeplessness and severe driver fatigue, increasing a big rig driver’s chance of getting into a serious accident. The FMCSA reports that more than 750 people die and 20,000 are injured each year because of fatigued commercial truck drivers. The group also estimates that approximately one in three commercial truck operators suffers from sleep apnea, whether mild or severe, showing the importance of educating truck drivers on this disorder so they can seek treatment and improve their safety on the road.
Sleep apnea, and OSA specifically, are treatable. Depending on the severity of the individual’s disorder, treatment options for OSA can include:
- Weight loss;
- Nasal decongestant; or
- A breathing mask.
Currently, there are no regulations or laws regarding managing sleep apnea amongst commercial truck drivers. The money for companies to diagnose and treat drivers with this condition may not be available, so it is up to the driver to speak to their healthcare professional if they have been excessively tired or fatigued while on the road.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports fatigue may be a possible factor in 31% of commercial vehicle accidents, making the likelihood of you being involved in a truck accident with a fatigued driver very high. If you or someone you know has been involved in a Maryland large truck accident due to the negligence of the truck driver, the truck accident lawyers in Maryland at the law offices of Alpert Schreyer can help you get compensation for your injuries. Please call (844) 632-7274 for a no-cost consultation.