One of the most common factors in commercial truck accidents is driver fatigue. These crashes are happening at an alarming rate, despite federal regulations that limit the number of hours a driver can be on the road. And one of the main causes of driver fatigue crashes is that the truck driver is suffering from sleep apnea, a recognized medical condition that tragically many sufferers do not even realize they have.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

There are two different types of sleep apnea. When a person has obstructive sleep apnea, they stop breathing for brief periods of time while they are sleeping. It is the most common type of sleep apnea. This usually causes them to wake up, multiple times throughout the night.

When an individual is suffering from central sleep apnea, their breathing stops and starts multiple times during sleep because their brain cannot send proper signals to the muscles of the body that control breathing.

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that needs treatment in order to alleviate the symptoms. Although both men and women of all ages can develop the condition, there are certain factors that make people more susceptible. These include:

  • Alcohol use
  • Being overweight
  • Large neck size
  • Small upper airway
  • Smoking

Some of the symptoms that could indicate the unsuspecting individual could be suffering from sleep apnea include:

  • Chronic sleepiness during the daytime hours
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

Truck Drivers and Sleep Apnea

Commercial truck drivers are more at risk of developing sleep apnea than other professions. This is due to the long hours they spend sitting and driving their rigs. Studies have found that approximately 35 percent of all truck drivers have some form of sleep apnea. When a driver is suffering from sleep apnea, they can be a danger to everyone on the road around them. Many truck accidents have occurred because the condition caused the truck driver to:

  • Fall asleep while they were driving
  • Had a difficult time concentrating and staying focused on the road in front of them
  • Impaired their judgment
  • Slowed their reaction time

Call Our Hampton, VA Personal Injury Law Firm for a Free Consult

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to see what legal recourse you may have for your pain and losses. Our skilled Hampton, VA truck accident attorneys have successfully represented many clients who were injured in truck accidents, including a $350,000 insurance settlement for one client who suffered a fractured kneecap and multiple serious cuts and bruises when a truck driver failed to yield the right of way and turned left in front of our client’s minivan.

Our firm also offers a free truck accident guide that addresses such issues as federal trucking violations, commercial truck insurance, and common tactics used by commercial carriers to reduce or deny the damages a truck accident victim may be entitled to.