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All Press Releases for December 12, 2013 »
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Sleep apnea in truck drivers poses a threat to others who share the road

One of the main causes of big rig accidents is driver fatigue.
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    December 12, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Many Atlanta residents agree that driving alongside a large commercial truck can be nerve wracking, especially when driving at high speeds on the freeway. Atlanta residents aren't the only ones who must maneuver around big rigs on the road. Nationwide, there are over three million professional truck drivers navigating American roadways.

While many of those drivers are proficient at their job and uphold the state and federal traffic laws, there are many others who fail to adhere to safe driving practices, putting themselves and others who share the road with them in danger. In fact, the latest information given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that nearly 200 people were killed in large truck accidents in 2011.

Sleepy behind the wheel

One of the main causes of big rig accidents is driver fatigue. A study sponsored by the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration discovered that nearly one-third of commercial truck drivers are diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Other conditions that lead to drowsiness, including insomnia and sleep deprivation, are also a major issue among truck drivers.

National and state legislation

Each state has a unique set of guidelines involving the testing and screening of commercial truck drivers who are suspected of having sleep apnea. New legislation was recently signed by President Obama mandating the testing of these drivers. The Federal Motor Safety Administration initiated a bill that requires an informed rulemaking process to be carried out by the federal government when setting the standards for professional truck drivers' sleep apnea screenings.

Identifying the signs

The following characteristics of sleep apnea can pose significant danger to all who are on the road:
- Impaired vision, judgment and reaction time.
- Increased aggressive behavior.
- Increased incidents of microsleep, or two to three seconds of brief sleeping episodes.
- Decreased performance and motivation.
- Problems with processing information.

Those who are diagnosed with sleep apnea typically have high blood pressure and are overweight. According to The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, this accounts for 86 percent of licensed commercial truck drivers.

What to do if you're involved in an accident

If you are involved in a semi-tractor trailer accident, it is critical that you call an experienced attorney to help you with your case. Commercial truck accident cases can be difficult; however, with a knowledgeable car accident attorney on your side, you can increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.

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