Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

Will feds do enough to prevent fatigue-related truck accidents?

All motor vehicle accidents are scary. When a collision involves a tractor-trailer on one side of it, however, the devastation caused in the incident can be immeasurable.

For that reason, traffic safety advocates argue for legislation that would reduce the likelihood of truck accidents in Tennessee and on U.S. roads overall. One way that some lawmakers believe that the country could prevent tractor-trailer accidents is to address a potential health problem among commercial drivers: sleep apnea.

 

Relatively recently, safety advocates and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have tackled what's become a controversial matter within the trucking industry. The idea to require trucking businesses to test their drivers for and treat sleep apnea before allowing them on the road has not been readily adopted. Instead, it sounds as though mere conversations will continue about the safety matter.

Workers within the commercial driving industry worry about sleep apnea-related rules and guidance. They argue that changes in regulations would cost the industry billions of dollars. A more immediate concern, however, is that the workers want to voice their ideas and worries about the matter before the FMCSA issues any regulations.

What does this mean for traffic safety and truck accident prevention? Accidents are often the result of driver fatigue. Tractor trailer drivers spend hours and hours behind the wheel. That can be enough to create a fatigued driver who is unable to safely navigate the roadways. Drivers who suffer from sleep apnea might already be too tired to drive simply because they don't get proper rest during their sleep.

Whether rules about sleep apnea within the trucking industry change or not, someone who is injured in a truck accident caused by driver fatigue or another preventable risk should speak with a personal injury attorney about their case. They still could have legal options.

Source: Truckinginfo, "Sleep Apnea Bill Receives Final Congressional Approval, Awaits President’s Signature," Even Lockridge, Oct. 6, 2013

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