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Tougher Regulations Needed? Virginia Truck Accidents & Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which sufferers have difficulty breathing, low breathing, or long pauses in breathing at night. The ailment, which is affecting a steadily increasing number of Americans, can cause chronic fatigue, distractibility, or the loss of the ability to concentrate. Some believe that sleep apnea also makes truck drivers more likely to cause tractor-trailer accidents, truck crash injuries, and truck crash fatalities. 

Sleep apnea and federal trucking regulations 
Along with other regulations, including shorter hours of service and electronic service recording devices, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is now considering new countrywide trucker rules that would protect against truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea. This consideration comes after two advisory boards, the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board, both recommended that the trucking industry screen for sleep apnea in an attempt to reduce the number of commercial truck accidents that take place due to driver fatigue. One study found that those suffering from sleep apnea were 242 percent more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers without the condition. 

Specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would have all potential truck drivers with a body mass index of over 35 take a sleep apnea test to qualify for service. 

One trucking company fights sleep apnea
Schneider National is one trucking company that has already begun to screen for sleep apnea – and to treat drivers with the health issue. The results seem to benefit everyone. The company has reported a thirty percent drop in truck accidents and a 48 percent drop in truck accident costs – in addition to saving hundreds on health care costs for drivers. 
Virginia truck accidents involving trucker fatigue 

If you or a family member has been injured in a Virginia truck accident, it is imperative that you completely understand why the crash took place and whether or not it could have been prevented. Call the Hampton personal injury attorneys at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan today to set up a free, confidential meeting regarding your case.