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Despite Prevalence of Sleep Apnea Among Truck Drivers, Trump Administration Resists Mandatory Screening for Commercial Drivers


Though a recent study commissioned by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suggested that at least 33 percent of truck and 18-wheeler drivers suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, the Trump Administration continues to resist mandatory sleep apnea screening for commercial drivers.

What is Sleep Apnea?

It is estimated that up to 22 million people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. However, many of these individuals are not even aware that they have the disorder, as it often goes unrecognized and undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea causes sufferers to experience brief interruptions of breathing while they are asleep.  These interruptions can last 10 seconds or more and may occur up to 400 times per night, making it difficult – if not impossible – for victims of undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea to get a good night’s rest.

Sleep Apnea and Driver Fatigue

People with sleep apnea often have difficulty remaining awake while driving.

In fact, a recent study found that drivers with Obstructive Sleep Apnea have a 123% greater crash risk, a statistic confirmed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board.

According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Obstructive Sleep Apnea has been implicated in at least 500 highway or rail crashes, killing 50 people and injuring more than 370 others.  But this figure likely underestimates the involvement of OSA, as most investigating officers don’t look for and drivers don’t admit they were fatigued.

Those accidents include a deadly crash involving a tour bus and an 18-wheeler that killed 13 people outside of Palm Springs, California in October 2016, as well as two recent New York-area commuter train crashes that resulted in 1 death and more than 200 injuries.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea was involved in a severe Greyhound bus crash, in which the driver lost control of the bus while driving on the highway, causing it to flip over multiple times.  Our Personal Injury Lawyers obtained the first court-ordered sleep study of the commercial driver in Texas, which confirmed he had moderate to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

The case was settled for $6 Million before trial.

Trump Administration Abandoned Sleep Apnea Screening Rule in 2017

Following the 2016 Palm Springs tragedy, the Obama Administration proposed a rule that would have required the drivers of commercial trucks, buses, and trains to undergo mandatory sleep apnea screening.

However, the Trump Administration abandoned the rule in 2017, shortly after the President took office, even though the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) already requires sleep apnea screening for private and commercial airplane pilots.

“It … makes no sense to me that one DOT agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, is taking what appears to be a reasonable approach for obstructive sleep apnea [while the other agencies withdrew the proposals],” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said last February during a hearing on the New York-area train crashes.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is holding firm to its position, as the current head of the FMSCA indicated during a a congressional hearing in May that his agency had no plans to revisit the issue.

Our Undefeated Truck Accident Lawyers Have Won Record-Setting Verdicts and Settlements in Cases Involving Driver Fatigue and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Our Truck Accident Lawyers have successfully represented hundreds of clients across the United States who were injured in fatigue-related bus and truck crashes, winning record-breaking verdicts and settlements on their behalf.

For example, we recently obtained a $6 million settlement on behalf of several Greyhound Bus passengers who were injured in a rollover crash after their driver fell asleep at the wheel.

While Greyhound maintained that a “sudden medical” issue had caused the driver to lose consciousness, our attorneys were able to prove via the first-ever court-ordered sleep study of a commercial driver that he actually suffered from undiagnosed Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea and was 7-times more likely to fall asleep while driving.

The record-breaking settlement stands as the largest involving driver fatigue in Greyhound’s corporate history  and was widely covered by CBS Morning News and other major media outlets throughout the United States.

Contact Our Undefeated Truck Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation at 1-888-603-3636 or CLICK HERE

With more than $1 Billion won for our clients, and having successfully represented thousands of people throughout Texas, Louisiana, and the United States who were seriously injured in crashes involving 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles, our Undefeated Accident Attorneys have the resources and skills to hold negligent transportation companies accountable and ensure our clients recover maximum compensation for all of their injuries and losses.

If you or someone you love were hurt in connection with a bus or truck crash, please call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form.

All consultations are free and, since we work exclusively on a contingency-fee basis, you’ll owe nothing unless we win your case.