Trucks are critical for the American economy, yet they also represent one of the biggest safety threats on the road. When these large and heavy vehicles collide with other vehicles, they can cause significant and catastrophic consequences. Because of the damage these vehicles can cause, it is critical for truckers to be as safe as possible.
There are many reasons why truck accidents happen in Florida. Speed, distracted driving, inexperienced truckers and other factors can increase the chance of a collision involving a truck. You may know all of these things are risky, but you may not realize how much certain types of health conditions can impact a driver’s ability to safely drive a semitrailer. One of these issues is sleep apnea, and it may be more prominent than you realize.
A dangerous combination
Obstructive sleep apnea is a grave safety problem, and it’s a bigger problem than many people realize. You are well-aware of the risk of drowsy driving – think of how dangerous it is when a driver actually falls asleep behind the wheel. This is what sleep apnea does. It messes with a person’s ability to sleep normally, causing that person to face a significant risk of being dangerously fatigued or even dozing off while driving.
When a person has trouble sleeping, he or she should seek medical treatment, especially if that person is a truck driver. Studies show that people who have untreated sleep apnea have a much higher crash risk than those who seek medical treatment for this specific condition. Not only does going untreated place that person at a higher risk for a crash, it places everyone else on the road at risk as well.
Monitoring truck drivers
During the Obama administration, there were regulations that mandated that trucking companies test drivers for medical conditions could impact their driving, specifically sleep apnea. The current presidential administration has rolled back on many of these regulations, but the efficacy of mandatory testing is an issue that still comes up in hearings and discussions in Congress.
Who is to blame?
When truck drivers have a medical condition that they know affects their ability to drive, are they to blame when that condition leads to an accident? Is the trucking company to blame for failure to monitor driver health? These are all important questions in determining liability for truck accidents.
If you are the victim of an accident with a semitrailer, you may want to speak with an attorney about your legal options. These are complex cases, and you do not have to fight for your recovery alone.