Truck Drivers May Be Screened for Sleep Apnea

by | May 9, 2012 | Legal Advice

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A New Braunfels, Texas woman lost her husband in a fatal crash when an 18-wheeler ran into their vehicle from behind. The truck driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Previously, doctors had diagnosed the driver with an extreme form of sleep apnea which could have caused loss of necessary sleep at night and lead to dozing off during the day. Sleep apnea is common in people who have a high body mass index or who are otherwise obese.

The woman is now advocating for mandatory testing for obese truck drivers to see whether or not they also might have the condition before allowing them out on the road. In testimony before the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, the woman said, “If you could have seen the scene that killed my husband … or any of the other scenes that have been tied to sleep apnea and truck wrecks, it does look like a war zone … It looks like a truck suicide bomber had gone through the area when [my husband] was killed. How many more families have to be torn apart before we do something?”

Auto accidents that result in fatalities due to accidents with commercial trucks account for some of the most devastating scenes on Texas roads, according to one Austin trucking accident lawyer. The families of loved ones who have been killed in accidents with trucks who are seeking compensation for their loss through the advisement of an Austin trucking accident lawyer are usually supportive of laws that would either mandate treatment for drivers with a high body mass who suffer from sleep apnea, or even possible disqualification.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must decide on proposals for mandatory testing of drivers for sleep apnea before any mandatory testing can occur. Opponents of enacting a law that requires mandatory testing argue that sleep apnea does not account for trucking accidents and claim the connection does not exist; but rather, overtaxed truck drivers are often sleepy due to other conditions that have an effect on their performance. According to some statistics, accidents that result due to truck driver fatigue only account for four percent of the total number of commercial truck accidents that occur every year.

Anyone who has suffered loss due to an accident with a commercial truck who is not at fault, or who suspects the driver may have been sleeping at the wheel or otherwise impaired, should contact an Austin trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible in order to make sure personal rights are protected, and full compensation for any loss is aggressively pursued.

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