Tired West Virginia Truck Drivers and Sleep Apnea
Truck drivers are vital to our nation’s economy and their job is tough. Driving long hours and thousands of miles can put a strain on their mental and physical well-being, making the prevalence of fatigue an important issue to be addressed.
Being tired affects both reaction time and judgment, but it’s a part of the job for many truckers. They have turned to a variety of methods to minimize its impact including common remedies like caffeine, music, and rolling down the windows. Some even resort to illicit drugs.
For some of these drivers, sleep apnea may be the cause of poor sleep and the resulting fatigue. Being properly diagnosed and treated can go a long way to ensuring they get proper rest.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes brief interruptions in breathing while sleeping. This can occur over 400 times over the course of the night, which can be life-threatening. Drivers with untreated sleep apnea have an increased risk of being involved in an accident. This is especially dangerous for truck drivers and the vehicles around them.
The condition often goes unrecognized and undiagnosed, but an evaluation should be considered for drivers experiencing poor sleep on a regular basis, especially drivers who experience the common symptoms of sleep apnea. Common symptoms include:
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches and nausea
- Gasping or choking while sleeping
- Loss of sex drive/impotence
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Irritability and/or feelings of depression
- Disturbed sleep
- Concentration and memory problems
- Frequent nighttime urination
A doctor will likely send a driver to a sleep center for testing if they’re suspected to have the condition. If a driver is diagnosed with sleep apnea, they will be directed toward the proper treatment. Until then, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration can declare drivers with moderate to severe sleep apnea to be not medically qualified to engage in interstate commerce, but their eligibility can be regained with successful treatment. Individual states have their own regulations regarding the diagnosis.
Being properly diagnosed with sleep apnea, or any condition, and accessing the proper treatment can be worth the investment for both a driver’s quality of life and driving safety. However, fatigue still plagues truckers and contributes to crashes on our nation’s roads.
Getting into an accident with one of these trucks can have a devastating effect on your life. Whether its fatigue or a lapse in truck safety, you deserve to have your rights upheld. Contact our office today.