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Driver fatigue and sleep apnea regulations for truckers

With the high number of traffic accidents involving trucks, New York motorists might be interested in the possible regulations regarding sleep apnea in the trucking industry. The issue of truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea is concerning because a study by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has determined that those who suffer from the condition have a risk five times higher of being involved in a preventable accident than those who do not.

According to the study, up to 20 percent of all big rig accidents involve drowsy or fatigued driving, which can be the result of suffering from sleep apnea. The most common form of the condition is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, which means that people's breathing repeatedly stops and starts again as they sleep. Some of the factors that can contribute to OSA include obesity, poor eating habits, lack of fitness and poor sleeping habits. The results of this include cardiovascular problems, complications with surgery and medications and fatigue.

Supporters of sleep apnea testing say that it is necessary to promote safety on the roads and that drivers will be able to continue working if they get treated. Critics of the testing say that sleep apnea has not been proven to be a significant factor in trucking accidents, that many drivers might be forced to pay for part or all of the testing themselves to be able to get or hold a job and that the testing itself is a violation of the drivers' privacy rights.

The goal of testing for sleep apnea is to decrease the risk of accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. Unfortunately, this problem will continue to exist, and occupants of other vehicles who have been seriously injured in these types of crashes may want to meet with an attorney to learn how they can seek compensation for their lawyers from the at-fault drivers and their employers.

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Orin J. Cohen Law
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