SLEEP APNEA HUGE - AND IGNORED - PROBLEM IN TRUCKING INDUSTRY

I have been fortunate to work with many great lawyers around the country on Truck Accident, Spinal Cord and Brain Injury cases. One such lawyer is Pete Everett of Fairfax, Virginia. Pete Everett, a great trucking lawyer who has a breathtaking knowledge of traumatic brain injuries, sent me the following information on a new sleep apnea study in the Australian trucking industry. 

Sleep apnea is a huge issue in the US trucking industry, and is willfully, knowingly, and glaringly ignored by most trucking companies. As a result it is a problem I have posted on frequently (Dangers of Truck Drivers with Sleep Apnea,  Sleep Apnea increase Risk of Accident Two to Seven Hundred Percent; 25% of Truck Drivers Should Not be Driving Due to Fatigue; and Fatigued Drivers 2.5 Times More Likely to be in a Collision amongst others). The new study shows what we have known in the US for decades. TRUCK DRIVERS WITH UNTREATED SLEEP APNEA KILL INNOCENT VICTIMS ON OUR ROADS. The actual report states: 

TruckingInfo.com; Wednesday, April 4, 2012

 

41% of Australian Truck Drivers Have Sleep Apnea, Study Says

 

A new sleep study found that 41% of Australian truck drivers have obstructive sleep apnea.

 

The study, published in the journal "Sleep," found that although only 4.4% of drivers reported a previous diagnosis of sleep apnea, an at-home diagnostic test found that 41% of the 517 drivers who participated likely had sleep apnea.

The study also found that 36% of drivers were overweight, 50% obese an 49% were cigarette smokers.

 

"Sleep apnea remains a significant and unrecognized problem in CMV drivers, who we found to have multiple health risks," the study says. "Objective testing for this sleep disorder needs to be considered, as symptom reports and self-identification appear insufficient to accurately identify those at risk."

 

Although the study focused only on Australian drivers, NPR reported that as much as 30% of American drivers are believed to have sleep apnea, a condition that causes a person to stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep, which results in daytime drowsiness.

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Gary Hull - April 9, 2012 11:26 PM

When will the law profession acknowledge that the truck driver is the safest driver on the road. Why do I say that? He drives in 3 months what most people do in a year. If you count all the deaths associated with trucks they account for a little over 10% of the deaths annually. And in the combination accidents (those involving both cars and trucks) only about 15% to 20% are the truckers fault.

Now, if you are willing to say that everyone on the road needs to get better at what they do. OK. We need to put more emphasis on the 90% (cars and light trucks)of the fatalities rather then the 10% (large trucks).

Editor - Given that a Professional driver is in control of an 80,000 Tractor Trailer - and receives additional driver training - I do expect them to be safe. When they are not, the wrecks are far more serious, usually involving catastrophic injuries or death. Most wrecks with safe professional drivers don't involve false log books, bad brakes, forced dispatch, drugs, speeding or rear end collisions. In fact there are many companies that have few wrecks, and most of those they are involved in are in fact the cars fault. Unfortunately many bad carriers force their drivers (largely because truck drivers are exempted from wage and hour laws and are paid by the mile and not by the hour) past safe driving practices. When that happens lawyer's get involved. I represent LOTS of truck drivers who are injured by other truckers. Being a driver trainer for example is scary dangerous, even with the extra pay. (This from a Desert Storm Marine with 22.5 years in service.) So yes, I take your point. There are many fine, safe professional truck drivers out there. There are also companies that put dangerous truck drivers on the road, some of whom I am sure you encountered. Safe professional driver's will never have a wreck that will involve a lawyer like me.

Safety manager - April 27, 2012 7:53 AM

Safety is a very important concern of all industry. Trucking industry is also very unsafe as anything can happen at such sites. A Safety manager should be appointed at loading places and warehouses so that all kind of safety can be managed.

JosephSmith - May 30, 2012 11:53 PM

Sleep apnea is a condition when a truck driver stops breathing for a short period of time when he was sleeping. Sleep apnea is a critical problem which is faced by truck drivers and ignored by their owner in trucking industry.

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