When you are working long hours and are racing against the clock to complete the task allotted to you, you may find yourself dozing off while working. For many, this is not a problem and does not threaten the lives of those around them-but when the person dozing off is a truck driver operating a commercial truck, then the fatigued driver is wielding a deadly object and has the potential to cause a deadly truck accident if he or she falls asleep behind the wheel.
Many associate the long hours truck drivers operate for sleepiness during the day, but this is not the only reason-Louisiana residents may not be aware that truck drivers are highly susceptible to developing sleep apnea and this could also be the reason they are having difficulty staying up during the day. According to the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration, around one-third of truck drivers have some form of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that leads to small interruptions of breathing during sleep. Lasting up to 10 seconds at a time and occurring up to 400 times a night, it has the potential to leave sufferers with headaches, daytime sleepiness, disturbed sleep patterns and concentration problems.
Why are truck drivers more likely to have this disorder? One factor may be their lifestyle. Since they are most likely to be driving the majority of the day, they are sedentary individuals and since they are on the road most of the time, they are likely to eat unhealthy food. This causes obesity, one of the leading causes of sleep apnea. Age, smoking and alcohol also play a factor in whether one has the disease.
Though sleep apnea does not prevent a truck driver from driving, it does require treatment so that a driver can remain alert and focused while on the road and not pose a threat to others on the road. If a trucking company has failed in their obligation and knowingly risked the lives of others, it may be possible to hold them responsible through a personal injury suit following a truck accident caused by the trucker’s negligence.