A new study suggests that fatigued drivers, particularly those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, are far more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident compared to other drivers on the road.
Drivers with Obstructive Sleep Apnea are 123% More Likely to Crash
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Massachusetts’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, investigated the link between motor vehicle crashes and two common forms of sleep deprivation: obstructive sleep apnea and insufficient sleep. All of its participants were part of the Sleep Heart Health Study, which includes 1,745 men and 1,456 women between the ages of 40 and 89.
According to the research team, drivers with Obstructive Sleep Apnea have a 123% greater crash risk . Those who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea are 13% more likely to experience a crash.
Insufficient sleep (≤ 6 hours of sleep per night) increases a driver’s accident risk by 33%.
“To help reduce these crash risks we need to identify individuals with sleep apnea and ensure they are properly treated for their apnea,” the study’s lead author said in a statement announcing the findings.
Driver Fatigue Cited in Deadly Bus, Truck and Train Crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Board, fatigued drivers may be responsible for a significant portion (30-to-40%) of all commercial trucking accidents.
In fact, driver fatigue has been a suspect in a number of fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles, including the recent Greyhound bus accident in Utah that tragically killed a teenage girl last New Year’s Eve.
Federal investigators have also cited sleep apnea as a factor in 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 tragically killed one person and injured more than 200 others.
Trump Administration Abandoned Proposed Sleep Apnea Screening Rule for Commercial Drivers
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) does require commercial and private airplane pilots to undergo sleep apnea screening.
But while Part 392.3 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations specifically prohibits ill or fatigued drivers from operating a commercial motor vehicle, there is no rule requiring that they be tested for sleep apnea.
The Obama Administration did propose a rule that would have mandated sleep apnea screening for train operators, as well as bus and truck drivers. However, the Trump Administration abandoned implementation of the rule during the President’s first year in office.
Our Undefeated Accident Lawyers Have Won Record-Setting Settlements and Verdicts in Cases Involving Driver Fatigue and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Our lawyers have won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in history on behalf of individuals injured or tragically killed in connection with fatigue related car, truck and bus accidents.
For example, we obtained a $6 million settlement on behalf of several Greyhound bus passengers who were seriously injured in a rollover crash when the bus driver fell asleep at the wheel. Greyhound tried to avoid responsibility for our clients’ injuries, citing the driver’s statement to the police that he experienced a “sudden medical episode” that caused him to pass out at the wheel.
After we filed the lawsuit, we obtained the first-ever court ordered sleep study of the bus driver, which, as suspected, confirmed that he had undiagnosed Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea – a condition that made it illegal for him to be driving.
The recovery stands as the largest settlement involving driver fatigue in Greyhound’s corporate history.
The settlement and our deposition of the driver was covered by CBS Morning News as well as news outlets across the United States.
Contact Our Undefeated Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation at 1-888-603-3636 or CLICK HERE
Having recovered more than $1 Billion for our clients — including record-setting settlements and verdicts in fatigue-related truck, bus and motor vehicle accidents – our Undefeated Accident Lawyers have the knowledge and resources needed to ensure that our clients receive the maximum compensation possible for their injuries and losses.
If you or a loved one were or tragically killed in a fatigue-related accident, call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form.
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