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Advisors & Experts Recommend New Sleep Apnea Federal Trucking Rules

Posted on Dec 12, 2011
Is sleep apnea causing fatigued truck drivers and a spike in Virginia truck accidents? According to a new study, drivers with sleep apnea may be 242 percent more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than those who do not suffer from the breathing disorder. 
Because of the link between sleep apnea and truck crashes, two different advisory panels for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have suggested that new federal trucking regulations are put in place to protect travelers from sleep apnea-related truck wrecks.
The two groups, the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board, suggest that all truckers with a BMI over 35 are screened for the sleep disorder, which is recognized by shallow breathing or long pauses between breaths while sleeping. Those who are diagnosed with sleep apnea would be diagnosed and treated.
Sleep apnea, which largely affects overweight and obese middle-aged men, can lead to chronic fatigue and issues with concentration and alertness.
Trucking companies that have already begun the battle against sleep apnea in their truck drivers report a significant drop in truck accidents, truck accident injuries, and trucker health care costs. 
The two advisory panels are now working together to form a more formal recommendation for a sleep apnea screening rule. This next step will likely be completed by the spring on next year. 

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