Truck Drivers with Sleep Disorders & 40 Ton Big-Rigs Make a Scary Combination
Most people that travel the roadways of Georgia recognize that commercial trucks pose a significant hazard to other vehicle occupants due to the massive weight of these vehicles coupled with the limitations they impose on handling and vision. When truck drivers are tired or fatigued, delays in reaction time, impaired judgment and micro-naps can lead to fatal trucking accidents. The need for alertness by drivers operating motor vehicles that can weigh forty tons is undeniable, but a new poll indicates that commercial truck drivers are plagued by sleep disorders and that they routinely get less than enough sleep to be alert behind the wheel of these massive vehicles.
The National Sleep Foundation poll found that 25 percent of all commercial drivers are adversely impacted by a sleep disorder. This disturbing news was compounded by the fact that nearly half of the commercial drivers who participated in the poll admitted that they usually drove after getting less than a good night's sleep. Further, almost seventeen percent of the drivers admitted to having been involved in a near accident because of lack of sleep.
Although sleep deprivation may be a result of drivers and commercial carriers disregarding rules regarding hours of service (HOS), which are designed to set limits for driving subject to off-duty rest periods, there are also many truck drivers that suffer from sleep disorders. One of the most prevalent and dangerous forms of sleep disorder among commercial drivers is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a medical condition that causes an individual to stop breathing for short intervals while sleeping. A person afflicted with the disorder may stop breathing hundreds of times during the night so that the individual is fatigued and drowsy during waking hours.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that more than one in four commercial drivers suffer from sleep apnea. Although federal regulations allow drivers to be disqualified if they have been determined to have moderate or severe sleep apnea, the condition is subtle enough that many drivers are not even aware that they suffer from the condition. While federal agencies are currently examining strategies to more carefully screen drivers whose ability to safely operate a tractor-trailer is affected by this medical condition and to impose restrictions to prevent accidents, drowsy truck drivers continue to pose a serious risk to other motorists.
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If your or your loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, including one involving a drowsy truck driver, our Atlanta truck accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.