Louisiana truck drivers have one of the most important jobs in the American economy, but they also have one of the most critical responsibilities. Due to the large size and weight of their vehicles, truckers must be careful, including being able to recognize when they have a condition that could impact their ability to drive safely, such as sleep apnea. There is evidence that this condition can directly impact truckers and potentially increase the chance of 18-wheeler accidents.
Recent research found that sleep apnea may be a more common problem in the trucking industry than many assume. One university study looked specifically at a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea and how it affects a trucker's abilities behind the wheel. This study found that an individual with this condition who did not seek treatment had a likelihood of crashing that was five times more than an individual who had treatment.
Drowsy driving is a serious safety problem, particularly for truckers. In a job that requires long hours on the road, truckers who are already tired and have untreated sleep apnea could be at a significant risk of causing an accident. Many believe that the trucking industry bears the burden of testing drivers to determine if they have a condition that could affect their driving.
When a Louisiana driver is injured in an accident caused by a fatigued trucker, it is not always immediately apparent who or what is to blame. It is possible the trucker is liable if he or she knew about a sleep condition, yet chose to drive anyway. A trucking company may also be responsible if they knew a driver had a condition that could cause 18-wheeler accidents.