A proposed rule that would screen both railroad workers commercial truck drivers for sleep apnea was met with a mixed reaction. There were a total of 593 comments made to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration. The condition impacts an estimated 28 percent of commercial truck drivers, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers.
One man voicing his opinion said that the study amounted to junk science and that it would simply be a way for medical professionals to make a profit. Another commenter wondered why commercial truck drivers were always being targeted for increased regulation. Many said that while fatigue is an issue that should be taken seriously, it wouldn’t be fair to make drivers or carriers pay thousands of dollars for tests.
Those who have the condition could be less attentive during their waking hours. This is because it results in breathing issues that can interrupt sleep several times each night. One solution that was suggested by many leaving comments was to allow drivers to take naps or otherwise rest without taking away from their time on duty. However, a representative from Road Safe America pointed out that airline pilots must be screened for sleep apnea even though the planes mostly fly themselves.
People who have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident that was caused by a truck driver who was sleep-deprived and who failed to take mandatory rest stops may be faced with a need for expensive medical care and treatment. Their financial condition can worsen if they are unable to return to work and lose wages as a result. A personal injury attorney could be of assistance in seeking compensation for those and other losses through a lawsuit filed against the trucker and the carrier.