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Sleep apnea and semitrailers: a deadly combination

| Jun 6, 2017 | Blog |

There are those in Florida who have medical conditions that make them a danger to themselves and others when they get behind the wheel of an automobile. Drivers of semitrailers are legally required to seek treatment for health concerns as a safety measure and in order to maintain employment.

Unfortunately, this does not always happen which, in turn, is known to contribute to serious or even fatal accidents. If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may have legal recourse.

Sleep apnea basics

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects roughly 25 million Americans. This disorder causes a person to stop or struggle to breathe while sleeping. The disruption in breathing then causes a person to experience low oxygen levels and a lack of restorative sleep.

This is not something that many are aware that they are doing. The most commonly seen warning sign that one has sleep apnea is excessive daytime drowsiness. This fatigue is not resolved by sleeping more.

Sleep apnea treatment

There are various treatments for sleep apnea. However, the one that the medical community believes is the most successful is the use of positive airway pressure machines, which open the airways through the use of a special mask. Truckers can obtain PAP models that adapt to both home use and use in a truck’s sleeper berth. Unfortunately, these machines can be challenging to adapt to, so numerous individual fail to use them as prescribed.

Why is this condition particularly bad for truck drivers?

Getting drowsy when behind the wheel happens to anyone. Truck drivers, though, spend extended periods of time out on the road trying to meet deadlines that are often unrealistic. Dealing with untreated sleep apnea only increases the odds that a truck driver will fall asleep while driving or make a careless mistake, both of which can result in an accident. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, truck drivers with untreated sleep apnea are up to five times more likely to cause collisions. That is pretty significant.

Sleep apnea is so easily treated. Studies show that even just four hours of breathing treatment every night can greatly reduce sleep apnea-related auto accidents.

What to do if injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident?

Sadly, most accidents involving semitrailers leave victims with severe or fatal injuries. If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one, the losses you are experiencing may seem too much to bear. Thankfully, you may seek relief by filing a civil claim against the driver and/or his or her employer.

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