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Is Sleep Apnea Making Truckers Less Safe?

Attorney Mark Rufo PC

It is virtually impossible to drive anywhere in the Granite State without seeing semi-trucks. After all, tractor-trailers play an important role in delivering goods across New England. With luck, the semi-trucks you encounter on your daily commute have drivers who are healthy, alert and responsible.

That may not always be the case, regrettably. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commercial truck drivers are roughly two times more likely to be overweight than the average motorist. Being overweight, of course, often increases a person’s risk of developing sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person’s breathing to stop and start abruptly during sleep. If a person suffers from sleep apnea, he or she may not receive sufficient rest. This may cause the individual to lose focus, engage in risky behaviors or even fall asleep at inopportune times.

Do truckers have health screenings?

Before receiving their commercial driver’s licenses, professional truck drivers must undergo a medical evaluation. This evaluation should check for dangerous medical conditions, such as sleep apnea. Then, truckers must have regular examinations to ensure they do not become too unhealthy to drive safely.

Do trucking companies care?

Trucking companies usually want to keep their insurance rates as low as possible. Therefore, a growing number of these companies are imposing weight restrictions on drivers. These restrictions eventually may keep drivers with sleep apnea and other weight-associated conditions off the road. Still, trucking companies are struggling to find employees due to a nationwide trucker shortage.

Ultimately, if you suffer a catastrophic injury in a collision with a trucker who has sleep apnea, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation.