Articles Tagged with sleep apnea

Truckers and Railroad Engineers Not Tested for Sleep Apnea

Truckers and Railroad Engineers Not Tested for Sleep Apnea

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident lawyer. Two separate government agencies have announced that the plans to screen truck drivers and railroad engineers for sleep apnea will not be pursued. The government’s argument is that the companies themselves should make the decision on whether or not to test employees. This is a part of the Trump administration’s plans to remove government regulations, which the administration feels is necessary for economic growth.

The trucking industry has been concerned about obstructive sleep apnea in commercial driver for many decades. With sleep apnea, the trucker gets poor sleep that can affect their ability to drive safely. This leads to an increase in truck accidents, which can be fatal. Combine poor sleep, long driving times and short sleep times and you get accidents. Drivers are required to have a physical every two years to stay certified. Examiners are now encouraged to do a sleep study on these drivers to rule out obstructive sleep apnea. There are also written score tests that can help define who needs a sleep study and who does not.

Commercial driving is a hazardous job, having the third highest rate of fatality among jobs in the US.  The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea among US commercial truck drivers is estimated to be 17-28 percent. Unfortunately, screening for this disorder is not mandated by US law. The researchers provide the reader with an evidence-based screening tool that can help define who needs further screening. Such screening testing led to an increase in the identification of commercial drivers who could then be treated for the disorder.