Have you ever been involved in a vehicle accident where the driver fell asleep? Even a loss of focus for just a few seconds can cause problems, and industry advocates have been arguing for better supports for truckers with sleep apnea and more ways to identify this condition before it causes an accident. Some leaders believe that drivers with sleep apnea should not be allowed behind the wheel of a commercial truck at all, but other legislators and trucking industry lobbyists have been pushing back. For someone involved in a trucking accident, the chances of a paralyzing or other serious injury are much higher, particularly damage to the spinal cord or the brain.
Sleep apnea was tied to a disproportionate number of trucking accidents, leading to the development of a proposal with a set of regulations to require railroad engineers, bus drivers and truck drivers to be tested for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can increase an individual’s chances of falling asleep on the job.
The proposed rule was recently pulled back, however, due to the intended regulatory burdens and the Transportation Department shared that they believe that the existing safety programs are enough. However, advocates of this testing were strongly opposed to the decision. The original proposal was created last year by the Obama administration to test truck, bus and rail operators for this dangerous condition and to treat anyone who has the disorder.
Sleep apnea allegedly has been the cause of at least 10 rail and highway accidents investigated by the NTSB in the past 20 years and several ongoing railroad and highway investigations also include allegations of obstructive sleep apnea. If you have already been involved in an accident because of a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel or engaged in other dangerous activity, you may have the grounds to recover your medical expenses and other compensation by filing a personal injury claim in San Diego.