We’ve talked previously on this blog about the dangers that can be posed by semi-trucks when they are driven in an unsafe fashion. Sadly, Pennsylvania residents can’t tell when a trucker is tired, intoxicated, or distracted, which means that at any given time they could be susceptible to being seriously injured or even killed in a negligent truck accident.
One problem that can cause truckers to climb behind the wheel while they are tired is sleep apnea. This medical condition causes interruptions to a person’s breathing while he or she sleeps, which in turn causes the sufferer to wake. This can happen as frequently 400 times a night, which can leave an individual seriously fatigued the next day. Perhaps the scariest part of this disease is that a study found that nearly one-third of all truckers suffer from some kind of sleep apnea.
This means that every day thousands of truckers are navigating the roadways with diminished alertness. These truckers may struggle to keep their eyes open and their vision focused. The federal agency that regulates the trucking industry doesn’t specifically address sleep apnea, although it does require truckers to be deemed medically qualified to operate a truck if they suffer from a medical condition that interferes with their ability to safely drive their truck.
These leaves safe driving in the hands of truckers who are expected to self-report their medical conditions. These truckers are often overworked and on tight deadlines, which may deter them from taking such actions, to the detriment of innocent motorists. Those who are hurt in an accident caused by one of these negligent truckers should think about taking legal action to protect their rights, including the right to compensation for damages suffered. Skilled legal advocates may be able to help accident victims get the outcome that is just.