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Untreated sleep apnea puts truckers at risk

With trucking being such a high-stress industry, it's important that truckers get a sufficient amount of rest each night. Unfortunately, many truckers have a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, which, if left untreated, makes them five times more likely to crash than drivers who received treatment. California residents should know that between 17% and 28% of the 1.87 million nonfarming commercial truckers have at least a mild form of obstructive sleep apnea.

This sleep disorder leads to pauses in one's breathing that can last up to 10 seconds and disrupt one's sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that the results range from heart disease and high blood pressure to drowsy driving and memory lapses.

Even though the Department of Transportation requires truckers to undergo a medical examination before receiving their CDL, it does not mandate sleep apnea testing in particular. Under the Obama administration, sleep apnea screening was mandatory, but this has been overturned under the Trump administration.

Sleep apnea is treated through CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy, where a mask delivers a continuous flow of air to keep the throat open during sleep. Many truckers have attested to the life-changing effect of this therapy, so it may encourage more companies to mandate sleep apnea testing among their employees. The cost of testing, though, can pose a problem.

Drowsy truck drivers are a threat to not only themselves, but also other drivers. In fact, in most collisions between a truck and a passenger vehicle, it is the occupants of the latter who fare worse. Victims may want to visit a Costa Mesa truck accident injury compensation law firm if they intend to file a claim. If their claim is successful, victims may be reimbursed for medical expenses, rehabilitative care, lost wages, a diminished capacity to earn a living and more.

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