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Rule change could affect commercial truck accident rates

Trucks are a consistent part of the landscape on Pennsylvanian roadways, but while many do not even think about them, they can pose a risk. And, there are certain issues that can make drivers dangerous, like sleep apnea.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) planned to move forward with regulatory rules that truck drivers and train operators had to be tested for sleep apnea. However, that has been scrapped. The decision to implement the testing had come about after a study from the University of Pennsylvania said that approximately 28 percent of commercial truckers had some form of sleep apnea.

This issue can lead to the driver continually waking up when trying to sleep. It can result in fatigue, reduce reaction time and even cause the driver to fall asleep while driving. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) advised that truckers should be tested.

The FMCSA will think about altering its current rules for testing, but it will not be due to an order. Companies are advised to check their drivers for health issues on their own. One proposal is for drivers with a higher body mass index to be tested, as they tend to have the issue.

While this might not seem relevant, it is important to drivers and others who are involved in a crash with a truck. Because these vehicles are so large and travel at high speeds, there can be debilitating injuries and the accompanying medical bills. People can be damaged for the long-term.

Injuries can lead to wrongful death. Those who are in a commercial truck accident should know how and why it happened. If sleep apnea was a cause, this can be a key to a lawsuit. Discussing a case with an experienced attorney is vital.

Source: trucker.com, "Sleep apnea rulemaking is no more...for now," Neil Abt, Aug. 7, 2017

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