Federal trucking regulations seek to keep motorists safe. They limit the hours that truckers drive, specify how cargo must be secured, and dictate when trucks must be inspected and repaired. Yet, not all aspects of safety are as aggressively regulated as they should be. This is especially true when it comes certain medical conditions that can have a tremendous impact on a trucker’s ability to safely drive his or her rig.
The dangers of sleep apnea
One example is sleep apnea. This medical condition causes sleep disruptions whereby the sufferers breathing temporarily stops, therefore causing the individual to wake up. These disruptions can happen hundreds of times a night, leaving the individual tired and fatigued on a consistent basis.
In the trucking context, this means that a trucker who suffers from sleep apnea may take to the road with very little sleep. One of these drivers can have decreased reaction time, an inability to remain attentive behind the wheel, and struggle to maintain his or her lane. Any of these mistakes can prove disastrous for other motorists.
How regulators address sleep apnea
Unfortunately, federal regulators don’t really police medical conditions like sleep apnea. Instead, they inform truckers that they can’t drive if their condition affects their ability to operate their vehicle in a safe fashion. Unfortunately, this creates a kind of honor system that isn’t always followed. More needs to be done to ensure safe trucking practices.
Protecting your interests
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent trucker, then you need to consider taking legal action. Gathering evidence of an improperly treated medical condition like sleep apnea can prove powerful in your case. So, be thorough, be prepared, and fight for the accountability and compensation that you deserve.