Trucking Accident Study Looks At Truckers With Sleep Apnea

Trucking accident stories are all too common in the Bakken region. Now, new research sheds light on truckers with sleep apnea. The study, noted in Science Daily in March 2016, is the largest ever to focus strictly on CDL truckers with sleep apnea. Researchers provide dramatic evidence of increased trucking accident risk when drivers do no follow prescribed sleep apnea protocols.

How the Study was Conducted

Dr. Stephen Burks conducted the study. He is also a lead investigator at the Truckers and Turnover Project headquartered at the University of Minnesota-Morris. There were approximately 1,600 truckers in each of two groups. One group consisted of truckers diagnosed with sleep apnea. The other, a control group consisted of truckers with similar amounts of job experience.

Truckers with diagnosed sleep apnea all received positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. The automated machines could be used at home or in sleeper berths to facilitate proper breathing for a better night's sleep. Since each machine contained a memory chip that recorded all usage, it was easy for researchers to determine each trucker's success, or lack thereof, in using the machine.

Far More Accidents for Truckers Ignoring Treatment

The PAP data was then matched up with the accident history of these truckers. The results were dramatic. Truckers failing to follow their prescribed PAP therapy were in serious accidents more than five times as often as those who followed, or partly followed, their sleep apnea treatment protocol.

Researchers involved in the study called for regulations that would require routine sleep apnea screening during required medical exams for truckers.

Failure to follow prescribed sleep apnea protocols could constitute evidence of negligent conduct when certain truckers are in crashes. Victims of such accidents may seek compensation for medical expenses, pain-and-suffering and lost wages.

If you or a family member is a victim in a truck accident, it is possible to benefit from a no-cost consultation with an attorney. To learn more, please contact us.