Sleep apnea affects approximately 4% of people living in Kentucky and across the United States. However, studies show that a whopping 35% of truck drivers may suffer from the condition, which can lead to drowsy driving.
There are three types of sleep apnea, but most truck drivers suffer from a form known as obstructive sleep apnea. This type occurs when an individual’s mouth palate and throat muscles collapse during sleep, blocking their airway. As a result, they stop breathing and wake up multiple times a night. This can cause sufferers to get poor sleep, which makes them prone to drowsiness during the day. It can also lead to long-term health problems such as hypertension and heart disease.
The health conditions associated with sleep apnea can be especially dangerous for truckers. Studies show that drivers who experience interrupted sleep and disrupted breathing are up to 250% more likely to get into an accident than drivers who are not sleep-deprived, making them a danger both to themselves and to others on the road. To address the issue, safety experts recommend that truck drivers who suspect they have sleep apnea seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. Symptoms of the condition include loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, feeling exhausted after a full night of sleep, high blood pressure, morning headaches, diabetes, attention difficulties and extreme daytime drowsiness.
Truck accidents can be caused by a number of factors, including truck driver fatigue, distracted truck drivers, speeding and improperly maintained vehicles. Victims of truck crashes might have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault truck driver and his or her trucking company. If the claim is successful, it might lead to a settlement that compensates the victim for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, property loss and more.