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Sleep Apnea Tied to Truck and Train Accidents

 Posted on August 11, 2017 in Train Accidents

truck driver fatigueTransportation safety experts have determined that undiagnosed or inadequately treated obstructive sleep apnea in drivers can lead to accidents caused by sleepiness or inattentiveness. Two agencies in the United States Transportation Department had been pushing for more testing to be required of truck drivers and train operators for this disorder.

However, that initiative was recently dropped. The Transportation Department says that the condition is still an “on-going concern,” but that it can be addressed using existing regulations.

When the effort to regulate sleep apnea testing began, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration stated that untreated obstructive sleep apnea "can cause unintended sleep episodes and resulting deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, and memory, thus reducing the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety sensitive duties."

However, the Transportation Department has recently decided that trucking and rail companies should be able to decide how testing and treatment is to be handled. The National Transportation Safety Board still maintains that the regulation was needed due to sleep apnea’s risks and prevalence.

For example, one railroad that tests for sleep apnea on its own accord discovered that 11.6 percent of its train engineers had sleep apnea. Risk factors for the condition include being male, obese, and middle-age or older. 

Fatal railway accidents have been linked with sleep apnea in the past, including one in Red Oak, Iowa in 2011. According to one doctor who studies the link between sleep apnea and serious accidents, untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of serious, preventable crashes by 500 percent.

What to Know about Train and Truck Accidents

Trains and 18-wheelers present huge risks for cars and pedestrians. Because of the size of trains and trucks, they are difficult to brake and steer. Also, their size means they are no match for small vehicles or people on foot. 

This is why there are extensive regulations concerning many aspects of train and truck safety. While this regulation may mean that more operators are driving when they should not be, it does not mean that someone who was injured due to a driver’s sleep apnea cannot recover damages for their injuries.

Call a Will County Train Crash Lawyer

If you have been injured in a truck or train accident, it is critical that you retain qualified legal counsel. Lawsuits for both types of accidents will involve unique laws and regulations as well as a number of parties that could be liable for your injuries. These accidents are more complex than a car accident.

Call the efficient Plainfield, IL truck accident attorney of Flaherty Law, LLC today. Our firm can be reached at 815-577-7500. 


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