Risk of Sleep by Big Rig Drivers

A new study shows long-range truck drivers can suffer from a common sleep disorder.  One in three truckers has sleep apnea that could cause them to doze off, according to a Harvard University study. Sleep apnea causes a person’s airways to collapse while they’re sleeping, cutting off their breathing. That causes them to wake up throughout the night and be drowsy during the day.

“There are accounts of drivers falling asleep at the wheel, and the results are catastrophic,” said Scott Barker of Swift Transportation, adding that is why Swift is launching a program for drivers to be screened and treated for sleep apnea at company expense.

Researchers believe obesity is one main factor in sleep apnea and federal safety regulators are considering rules to screen drivers whose body mass index puts them in the obesity range. Researchers estimate that could be more than 40 percent of commercial drivers.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said, while truckers are expected to follow regulations, other drivers on the highways should keep an eye out for big rigs. Car drivers should maintain a safe following distance when sharing the road with trucks, never cut into a trucker’s space and be aware of the trucker’s blind spots.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed by a large truck in an accident, please contact Jonathan Harris at (713) 364-0723. Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers.