Blog posts tagged in truck driver safety
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA has established the number of hours that truck drivers in the United States are allowed to drive their trucks. By adhering to these rest requirements, truck drivers can reduce their risk of driver fatigue, which leads to serious truck accidents and life-threatening injuries.
Rest Requirements for Truck Drivers
According to the FMCSA, if a truck driver’s workday consists of 14 hours, he or she may only drive for a maximum of 11 hours. Once the individual has driven 11 hours, he or she must rest for at least 10 hours before returning to his or her truck driving duties.
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.
A new study recently issued by researchers from the Virginia Technical Institute reveals that tractor trailer drivers who suffer from sleep apnea and fail to follow a treatment program are five times more likely to be involved in a serious truck accident.
A person suffering from sleep apnea typically has pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while he or she is sleeping. These pauses can last up to one minute. In one hour, these pauses can occur up to 30 times. With each pause, a person who is in a deep sleep shifts into a light sleep. This continual sleep interruption leaves the individual feeling exhausted the next day because he or she was not getting a good quality night’s sleep. Estimates are that more than 25 million people suffer from the chronic disorder.
One of the most common treatment methods for sleep apnea is positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. Auto-adjusting machines blow streams of air through a mask that the sufferer wears while he or she is sleeping.