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Sleeping Conditions Can Lead To Truck Accidents

Driving safely requires all of a person's attention and concentration, which is why it is so dangerous when a driver in Oklahoma is distracted or is in some way physically impaired while behind the wheel. This is true regardless of the type of motor vehicle that the person is operating. However, the stakes can be higher with regard to a larger vehicle like a tractor-trailer because these vehicles can cause immense property damage and personal injuries in an accident.

One physical condition that can be particularly dangerous for truck drivers is fatigue. This is because truckers are often driving on the roadways for many hours at a time, and they may be driving at odd hours of the day or night. Thus, being well-rested is imperative for commercial truck drivers. But, according to a study that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sponsored, this may not be the case for many truckers.

The study, which researchers at the University of Pennsylvania conducted, focused specifically on sleep apnea. This is a type of sleep disorder that causes pauses in a person's breathing while he or she sleeps. These pauses can last 10 seconds or more, and can happen as many as 400 times per night. Not surprisingly, one of the symptoms of sleep apnea is excessive sleepiness while the person is awake.

The FMCSA study showed that about 28 percent of commercial truck drivers have some form of sleep apnea. This is a concern because the sleepiness that can result from poor sleep can translate to a truck driver being less alert while behind the wheel. Likewise, sleep apnea could also cause a trucker to fall asleep while driving.

If sleep apnea, or any other condition, leads to a truck driver losing focus on the road and causes an accident, it could result in severe injuries, and even death, to other people on the road. Truck accident victims may then be able to pursue a personal injury case to get compensation from the driver and the truck company.

Sleep apnea can be a very dangerous and even deadly condition. Truck drivers who have it should seek appropriate medical help before driving and possibly endangering themselves and other people.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Driving When You Have Sleep Apnea," Accessed on Dec. 16, 2016