Should Truckers Have to Comply with Sleep Apnea Regulations?
In the wake of numerous truck accidents across Florida and the rest of the United States, federal regulators are looking for ways to crack down on screening tools that could help to indicate a driver might have a problem behind the wheel.
Trucking accidents are some of the deadliest on the road today. If you’ve ever passed a Florida accident scene involving an 18-wheeler, you have probably gotten the picture of the kinds of gruesome scenes these accidents can leave behind.
Victims in an accident like this may suffer medically and emotionally for the remainder of their lives. This is the primary reason why regulators are constantly seeking out ways to make the trucking industry safer.
In the past twenty years, truck drivers and truck companies have had to comply with many different requirements about safety checks, driver rest periods, and driver time behind the wheel.
One trucking accident can leave a wake of terror and injuries, so it’s important that truckers and their employers understand the best way to prevent these accidents in the first place.
Some of the leading causes of trucking accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Defective parts
- Driver inexperience
The most recent area of interest for federal regulators has to do with conditions that could contribute to drowsy driving.
Also Read : Top 10 Things to do After a Truck Accident
One of those conditions is obstructive sleep apnea, and legislators and regulators believe that truckers afflicted with OSA may have a higher risk of falling asleep behind the wheel and causing devastating trucking accidents in Florida and elsewhere.
The federal government is currently considering whether or not all commercial truck drivers, railroad workers, and bus drivers should be required to undergo obstructive sleep apnea screening prior to hitting the road.
This has caused some uproar in the trucking community with regard to whether this would truly prevent accidents and whether truckers should have privacy surrounding medical issues.
Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to drowsy driving and may increase the risk of serious or fatal truck accidents.
The Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Department of Transportation are working together to identify this potential rule, which was gathering public comments through July 8th.
Some trucking associations have criticized the idea of questioning the strength of fatigue and obstructive sleep apnea statistics.
But sleep experts believe that this new rule would help to encourage public safety and prevent accidents on the road.
Since the rule is not yet finalized, it is not clear yet whether or not this would apply to current drivers or only new drivers, and it has not yet been clarified whether or not this would be used as a screening tool to determine whether or not a driver would be accepted with a particular company.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has previously recommended that all commercial drivers undergo this screening but this rule will make it mandatory.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving contributed to more than 6,400 deaths, 109,000 injuries and 328,000 car accidents every single year.
The Centers for Disease Control has previously identified that the trucking industry is more likely to be involved in drowsy driving accidents because commercial drivers often pull long shifts behind the wheel.
Regulations limit how long a truck driver can operate his or her vehicle, but these regulations are meaningless if the company is still relying on paper logs.
Many commercial trucking companies have revised their systems to be computer based, meaning that drivers must click on and click off in order to verify compliance with federal regulations.
Trucking companies that still use paper logs, however, allow truck drivers to change the numbers and drive longer shifts than they are allowed to drive.
A drowsy driver behind the wheel of a truck is more likely to be involved in severe accidents because the typical commercial truck weighs 80,000 lbs.
Regardless of the speed at which the vehicle is going, this can lead to catastrophic injuries.
Consult with a Daytona Beach Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you have already been injured in a trucking accident in Florida, you need the advice of an experienced trucking accident attorney. Do not hesitate to reach out to a Daytona Beach trucking accident lawyer to learn more.
Curious to learn what’s involved if you want to file a personal injury claim? Learn more from this blog: /how-to-get-a-personal-injury-lawsuit-started/
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