The Johnson Law Firm, LLC

No mandated testing for truck drivers with sleep apnea

Missouri roadways will often have large trucks going back and forth. These vehicles travel great distances at significant speeds. Given their size and these factors, a crash with a truck can lead to severe injuries and death. One issue that is worrisome not just for truckers but also for train operators is sleep apnea.

A proposed rule to test these operators for sleep apnea was rescinded by the president. The rules were eliminated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration. This information could be important for those who are in a truck accident or train accident so the case can be investigated to determine if truck driver fatigue was a factor.

Sleep apnea can interfere with a person's sleep as it restricts breathing overnight. During the day, the person can be left tired because of lack of sleep. They might have awareness issues and memory loss. The federal agencies decided that it should be the responsibility of the companies themselves to decide whether to test employees for sleep apnea or not. For one railroad in the U.S. that does test its workers - Metro-North in New York - 11.6 percent of engineers had the condition.

The National Transportation Safety Board wants testing to be done because of its experience with accidents due to sleep apnea. There have been 10 rail and highway accidents in the last 17 years that were investigated by the NTSB. Both the FRA and FMCSA stated that sleep apnea has been the cause in several crashes in the last few years.

An accident with a truck can cause major injuries and fatalities because of their size. People in conventional vehicles can face massive medical expenses, lost wages, the need for extensive care and more. This can place a lot of pressure on the family in a personal and financial way. If there is a death, the family will need to get beyond what happened and make ends meet. Investigating the accident and determining if sleep apnea might have been a cause for truck driver fatigue can help in truck accident claims in order to be compensated.

Source: npr.org, "Regulators Pull Plan To Test Truckers, Train Operators For Sleep Apnea," Bill Chappell, Aug. 8, 2017

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