Recently, agencies under the United States Department of Transportation have had a bit of a meltdown over sleep apnea in transportation professionals. First under fire was pilots, who were told that if their necks measured over a certain circumference and if their BMI was over a certain level, their airman certificates would not be renewed until they went through an expensive sleep study.
Next up was the trucking industry. Many truck drivers who went in for a simple medical certification renewal came out with the news that despite no solid evidence to prove sleep apnea, their certification would also be denied until they went through a sleep apnea study. For many truck drivers, this meant that their job was taken from them as well—or at least until the study could be completed and CPAP therapy pursued.
What Is the Risk, Exactly?
The concern that lawmakers have over sleep apnea in truck drivers is founded in reasonable facts. Sleep apnea can greatly affect a driver’s restorative sleep without proper treatment which can lead to fatigued drivers—a huge safety issue plaguing our highways today. The problem that many truck drivers have with these new medical certification rules is that they leave them guilty until proven innocent, which can cost big bucks.
While safety is always on the top of everyone’s priority list, DOT agencies have a history of reactive rulemaking rather than proactive prevention. While it is pertinent that sleep and respiratory disorders be addressed, putting drivers on the defensive will only serve to make everyone resistant to rules that, overall, could have positive outcomes.
If you have been injured by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Reach out to our firm today by clicking on the live chat link, and learn how our firm can help you with your case.