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Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea Cited in Two New York Commuter Train Crashes

Federal investigators say that undiagnosed sleep apnea was likely behind two recent New York City-area commuter train crashes that tragically killed one person and injured more than 200 others.

The common disorder, which affects an estimated 18 million adults, is characterized by the repeated disruption of sleep during the night and is known to cause daytime drowsiness.

The first of the two accidents occurred during morning rush hour on September 29, 2016, when a New Jersey Transit train crashed into the Hoboken station. One woman died after being struck by falling debris on the platform and 118 others were injured.

A Long Island Rail Road train crashed into Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal on January 4, 2017, injuring 108 people.

Both trains were travelling well above the posted speed limit when they crashed. And in both cases, the engineers were unable to remember what had happened in the moments before the accidents.

Trump Administration Scraps Sleep Apnea Screening Rule for Train Operators, Bus & Truck Drivers

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have since determined that the engineer in each crash fell asleep while they were operating the trains.

Both also suffered from undiagnosed sleep apnea.

“I don’t know how many board meetings I’ve sat through either on highway or rail [crashes] that have involved [obstructive sleep apnea],” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt during a meeting on the Hoboken and Brooklyn crashes that was convened on Tuesday. “And it could be screened and treated.”

The Obama Administration was drafting a rule that would have required sleep apnea screening for train operators, as well as bus and truck drivers. But the rules were scrapped by the Trump Administration last year.

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]. I’m not sure why there’s a difference within DOT modal agencies,” Sumwalt said.

Driver Fatigue Suspected in Deadly Bus Crashes

Driver fatigue has been a suspect in a number of other fatal accidents, including the recent Greyhound bus crash in Utah that took the life of a California teenager on New Year’s Eve.

Those aboard the bus reported that the driver fell asleep at one point during the trip and had to be awakened by passengers.  They also said that he had complained of not feeling well and appeared to have “passed out” just prior to the crash.

Recently, the NTSB cited sleep apnea as a factor in a horrific collision involving a tour bus and an 18-wheeler that killed 13 people outside of Palm Springs, California in October 2016.

The bus driver – who died in the accident – may have nodded off before hitting the semi. Both drivers likely suffered from undiagnosed, obstructive sleep apnea.

Our Undefeated Bus Accident Lawyers Have Won Record-Setting Recoveries in Cases Involving Driver Fatigue and Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea

Our Undefeated Bus Accident Lawyers have recovered record-setting verdicts and settlements in cases involving driver fatigue and undiagnosed, obstructive sleep apnea.

Just recently, for example, our firm negotiated a $6 million settlement on behalf of five passengers injured in a 2013 rollover crash involving a Greyhound bus driver who fell asleep at the wheel.

Greyhound agreed to settle the case after our attorneys obtained the first-ever court ordered sleep study of a commercial bus driver, proving that the Greyhound driver suffered from undiagnosed, obstructive sleep apnea.

The recovery stands as the largest settlement involving driver fatigue in Greyhound’s corporate history.

CLICK HERE to watch a CBS This Morning report about the case.

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

Having recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients — including record-setting settlements and verdicts against some of the largest transportation companies in the world – Our Undefeated Train Accident Lawyers have the knowledge and resources needed to ensure that our clients recover full compensation for all of their injuries and losses.

If you or someone you love was injured or tragically killed in a crash that may have involved driver fatigue or undiagnosed sleep apnea, call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form.

All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency-fee basis, you’ll pay nothing unless we win your case.