Sleep Apnea Could be a Leading Cause in Motor Vehicle Accidents

On March 11, 2016 a publication in the Federal Register discussed concerns over the disorder of sleep apnea and its effects on transportation safety. Sleep apnea is a condition which causes an individual to stop and start breathing during the night multiple times, resulting in consistently poor sleep. When it comes to highway and train safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration stated that sleep apnea is viewed as “a critical safety issue that can affect operations in all modes of travel in the transportation industry” because it causes drivers to get inadequate sleep.

Federal regulators are now requesting more data so that they may understand sleep apnea’s effects on transportation more thoroughly. The concern is that if drivers are not properly sleeping, difficulty in concentration, attention, and reduced reaction time will occur. Regulators may implement a screening process for certain industries if the data shows a strong correlation of sleep apnea sufferers and dangerous mistakes on the job, including falling asleep at the wheel.

Some accidents credited to sleep apnea include a July 26, 2000 tractor trailer crash which killed a state trooper and injured one other. The driver of the tractor trailer fell asleep at the wheel and subsequently ran into the state patrol car and other vehicles. The driver had previously been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and had even undergone surgery for it. The driver failed to list his sleep apnea and the surgery on the examinations for medical certification.

In time, the data should show how great of an effect sleep apnea has on transportation accidents. If you have sustained injuries, property damage, or the loss of a loved one occurred as a result of a train, or any motor vehicle accident, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your eligibility for compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you of your legal remedies and rights. Call Arze & Mollica, LLP at (718) 996-5600 for a consultation today.

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