Boca Raton, FL, USA, 08/30/2017 /SubmitPressRelease123/
The Trump Administration, in its efforts to create a more business-friendly federal government, has made a decision that could result in more deaths and serious injuries caused in commercial truck accidents. A planned regulation would’ve required truck drivers be screened for sleep apnea, which if untreated could result in fatigued or drowsy drivers. Boca truck accident lawyer Joe Osborne says without the regulation the chances of a truck accident caused by a fatigued and distracted driver increase.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) announced earlier this month a regulation requiring testing of train engineers and truck drivers for sleep apnea proposed by the Obama administration will not be pursued, reports the Associated Press (AP). The disorder causes temporary heart stoppages while the person sleeps, waking him or her up several times a night. In the morning the person is fatigued and easily distracted because of the lack of quality sleep. Train engineers and truck drivers with sleep apnea have been blamed for deadly train crashes in New York City and New Jersey and several highway crashes.
The FMCSA stated trucking companies will decide whether or not to test drivers. This is but one of hundreds of regulations that have been withdrawn or delayed by the administration. It claims reduced regulations will result in economic growth. Former FRA administer Sarah Feinberg was quoted by the AP as saying,
“It’s very hard to argue that people aren’t being put at risk…We cannot have someone who is in that condition operating either a train going 70 mph or operating a multi-ton truck traveling down the interstate. It’s just not an appropriate level of risk to be exposing passengers and the traveling public to.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated it was disappointed the proposed rule is being dropped. The agency stated sleep apnea has been found to be the probable cause of ten highway and rail accidents it has investigated in the past 17 years. It’s also suspected in a number of ongoing investigations.
More than a quarter (28%) of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea according to a study sponsored by the FMCSA and the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations.
The FMCSA states that untreated sleep apnea affects alertness and performance. It can make it difficult for drivers to stay awake, focus their eyes and react when driving. Studies have shown that those with the condition have a greater risk of being involved in a fatigue-related motor vehicle accident. Even though a driver with untreated sleep apnea may not fall asleep behind the wheel if he or she is fatigued enough to be distracted or inattentive that may be enough to cause an accident.
FMCSA regulations state a person with a diagnosis of a condition likely to interfere with their ability to drive safely cannot be medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. If a driver is diagnosed with sleep apnea and successfully treated he or she can be medically cleared to drive again.