One of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents is driver fatigue. Often times, a medical condition known as sleep apnea leads to fatigued driving and impairs a truck driver’s ability to safely operate a truck. Let us take a closer look at what sleep apnea is and how it can affect truck drivers and cause commercial truck accidents.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs when someone involuntary stops breathing for brief periods of time while he or she is sleeping. It can cause someone to wake up frequently throughout the night.
The other type of sleep apnea is called central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is not as common and occurs when breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep because the brain is unable to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Risk Factors and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Unfortunately, sleep apnea is a chronic condition that is often under-diagnosed. Although sleep apnea can develop in men and women of any age, certain risk factors such as being overweight, smoking, alcohol use, a large neck size, and a small upper airway can put someone at a higher risk for this condition. Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include chronic daytime sleepiness, irritability, depression, headaches, mood swings, and concentration difficulties.
Why Are Truck Drivers with Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Due to their long hours and sedentary lifestyles, commercial truck drivers are more likely to develop sleep apnea than individuals in other professions. The University of Pennsylvania and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA found that about one-third of truck drivers are living with some form of sleep apnea.
Truck drivers with sleep apnea are not capable of safely operating a truck and can significantly increase accident risk as a result. Sleep apnea can cause them to fall asleep behind the wheel, hinder their ability to concentrate, impair their judgment, reduce their alertness, and slow their reaction times.
Contact a Will County Truck Accident Attorney
If you have suffered from an injury because of a truck accident, you should reach out to our Will County truck accident attorneys as soon as possible. We can help determine whether sleep apnea or another condition played a role and may be able to recover compensation on your behalf. Call us at 815-726-9200 for a free consultation today.