Commercial truck drivers who don’t properly treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are five times as likely to be involved in a serious collision, according to a newly released study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
According to VTTI researchers, who published the study in the scientific journal Sleep, participant drivers who did not follow a mandated sleep apnea treatment program faced significantly increased crash risks. For example, looking at any given set of 100 drivers for a year would generally result in drivers with sleep apnea causing roughly 70 preventable truck accidents. This is compared to just 14 crashes caused by drivers without sleep apnea and those with properly treated sleep apnea.
Additionally, the study also noted pitfalls in internal truck company rules and federal regulations regarding the sleep disorder, including:
- Truck drivers are typically required to participate in a mandated treatment program after being diagnosed with sleep apnea, and can be removed from duty for non-compliancy.
- Because of a loophole in current federal laws, drivers are able to keep a sleep apnea diagnosis private, and therefore can find new jobs without receiving treatment for OSA.
With the results of the study, scientists and lawmakers find solid support to back arguments for passing tougher screening and treatment standards for sleep apnea. These regulations could potentially prevent numerous accidents, injuries, and deaths – as they keep fatigued truck drivers away from the wheels of massive machines
Failing to comply with mandated rules and regulations, as well as driving while fatigued, are common causes of preventable truck accidents. Victims injured as a result of these failures have the right to hold drivers and companies liable, and to recover financial recompense for their injuries and damages.
At The Daspit Law Firm, our accident attorneys in Houston represent clients throughout Texas who have been injured through no fault of their own. If you have questions about your legal rights following a crash, contact our team for a free and confidential case evaluation.