Truck accidents are a particularly dangerous possibility for motorists. The sheer size and mass of commercial trucks increases the likelihood of serious injury. And while it may seem, at first glance, that the cause of such an accident is obvious, you need to look deeper – because sleep apnea may be behind it.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder, where the person afflicted has difficulty breathing. They may not even realize it’s affecting them. Their breathing may literally stop for 10 seconds or more and this pattern may occur hundreds of times during the night. The condition robs a person of quality sleep, leaving them drowsy during daytime hours and unable to react as quickly as they would be able to with a full night’s sleep.
Unfortunately, nearly one-third of all commercial truck drivers may have sleep apnea. If it is undiagnosed or untreated, it increases the risk that these drivers cannot operate their trucks in a safe manner, putting the motorists around them in danger. Compounding this danger is the pressure that shipping and transportation companies can put on drivers to ensure that deliveries are completed with maximum efficiency, to improve their bottom line.
Sleep apnea will not be an obvious cause following an accident. It will only be discovered by a prompt and thorough investigation of the driver’s history and the company they work for. Medical and employment records must be reviewed to determine what led the driver to their negligent actions. This can impact who is to be held liable for your injuries – not just the driver themself, but also the companies behind them.