Sleep apnea is a medical condition. Those afflicted with it experience frequent and chronic interruptions to their sleep – throughout the night, their breathing literally pauses. The pauses may last as long as 10 seconds or more and occur as many as 400 times in a given sleep cycle.
According to one study, nearly one-third of truck drivers may be afflicted with sleep apnea, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. As a result, both the quality and quantity of their sleep is impaired, leading to drowsiness during the day and an inability to remain sharply focused on the task at hand – driving their commercial truck.
Drowsiness can be dangerous for any driver, but when the driver is behind the wheel of a large truck that can weigh tens of thousands of pounds, drowsy driving can have consequences that are devestating.
It may be more than the driver at fault
When you’re the victim of a truck accident, it’s easy to blame the driver as the sole cause, but that’s not necessarily the case. Most drivers work for a company, which carries some responsibility for the driver and their safety. Trucking companies tend to put profits over safety, pushing their drivers to remain on the road for long hours, even if they suffer from a condition like sleep apnea.
A complication like this is unlikely to be revealed by a cursory investigation at the scene of your accident. Instead, the accident and the company behind it must be scrutinized, including medical and employment records. The goal of a personal injury lawsuit is to make you whole again and ensure every responsible party is held accountable. A thorough investigation into a trucking accident may be the only way to accomplish those goals.