Because truck drivers frequently work long and irregular hours, they can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of fatigue. In an effort to ensure truck drivers get the rest required to operate a truck safely, they are required by law to stop and take regular breaks and are limited in the number of hours they can drive during a shift and throughout the week.
And drivers must enter their activities in log books. But while log books can account for the amount of time a driver dedicates to sleep, there is no way to account for the quality of sleep the driver is getting. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing starts and stops during periods of sleep. This interrupted breathing can cause sufferers of the condition to experience serious fatigue when awake.
According to a recently released study, truck drivers who had the condition but did not undergo corrective treatment were five times more likely to be involved in preventable crashes than similar drivers who adhered to treatment.
The senior author of the study stated that OSA is a serious public health issue and that the findings of the study may influence the federal government to create regulations requiring truck drivers to be screened for the condition.
Hopefully, one day, there will be a mandate that addresses the risks posed by truck drivers who suffer from OSA. But as it stands, the disorder is merely one more possible factor that could contribute to truck drivers experiencing dangerous levels of fatigue while on the road.
Behind the wheel of a large, powerful big rig truck is no place for a fatigued driver. And drivers who operate their vehicles when they are overtired can cause very serious accidents. If you or a family member has come to harm due the negligence of a truck driver, a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney may be able to aid you in your pursuit of appropriate compensation.