Every day, commercial trucks can be seen on roads all over the state of Oklahoma. Good as that may be for a number of reasons, sharing the road with these vehicles can be quite intimidating. Those individuals involved in car accidents with these massive machines are likely to suffer significant injury or worse. If that happens and the truck driver or his or her employer are deemed liable, victims or their surviving family members may have legal recourse.
Truck accidents occur for many reasons, but this week’s column would like to focus on one in particular — sleep apnea. Numerous truck drivers suffer from this medical disorder, which causes them to stop breathing while they sleep. This means that, if left untreated, they experience a significant lack of oxygen and restless sleep every single night, which can have significant consequences.
A person with untreated sleep apnea is likely to feel extreme fatigue during the day. He or she may not be able to concentrate and may suffer with memory problems. He or she may have depression and frequent headaches. All of these things can make it difficult to be safe while behind the wheel of an automobile.
Truck drivers who are thought to have sleep apnea are legally required to get tested and — if needed — utilize treatment if they wish to keep their commercial drivers’ licenses. Those who fail to do this and who cause car accidents may put themselves and their employers in a legal hot spot. Oklahoma residents who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones in collisions with commercial truck drivers who have this untreated medical disorder may — if deemed legally appropriate — pursue compensation for their losses by filing and litigating civil claims against all responsible parties.
Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, “Driving When You Have Sleep Apnea“, Accessed on April 6, 2018