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All Press Releases for February 12, 2014 »
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Study indicates sleep apnea common among truck drivers

Most everyone knows that large commercial trucks can be difficult to control. Due to their size and weight, 18 wheelers require not only more room to maneuver, but also more room to come to a complete stop.
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    February 12, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Most everyone knows that large commercial trucks can be difficult to control. Due to their size and weight, 18 wheelers require not only more room to maneuver, but also more room to come to a complete stop. It is essential for commercial truck drivers to be properly rested so that they are alert and able to react when behind the wheel. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case and, in fact, fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents.

Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a study exploring why fatigue is so prevalent among commercial truck drivers. Researchers discovered that many truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea - a condition that prevents sufferers from breathing properly while asleep, which disturbs sleep patterns and leads to drowsiness during the daytime.

FMCSA researchers surveyed a random sample of commercial truck drivers that passed within 50 miles of the University of Pennsylvania. Of those surveyed, just over 17 percent were found to have mild sleep apnea, nearly six percent had a moderate form of the condition and nearly five percent had a severe form of the condition. According to the FMCSA, the incidence of sleep apnea among commercial drivers appears to be roughly the same as the general population. This finding is significant because previous studies had estimate the rate among CDL drivers to be much, much higher.

One of the common factors affecting sleep apnea is the average number of hours spent sleeping. Since many commercial truck drivers sleep for fewer than six hours each night, they are particularly at risk for developing the condition. Unfortunately, this means that a significant number of truck drivers suffer from sleepiness during the day.

Interestingly, researchers did not find that self-reported driver sleepiness affected tests of driver ability. In the authors' opinion, this does not mean that sleepy drivers are safe. Instead, it indicates that further research is needed on the subject. One point of difficulty in this particular survey is that researchers had to rely on self-reported information about sleep deprivation.

The reality is that truck driver fatigue is not only dangerous for the drivers themselves, but also for those of us who share the highways with them. The FMCSA plans on further studying the issue and working with experts to develop a policy on testing truck drivers for sleep apnea and treating those who have the condition.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a commercial truck driver, speak to a personal injury attorney today.

Article provided by Simmons Law Firm, LLC
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