One of the biggest causes of trucking accidents in West Virginia and across the U.S. is driver fatigue. Because of this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is moving forward with new regulations meant to reduce sleep apnea in drivers, which can lead to deadly trucking accidents.
The proposed regulations will require truck drivers who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher to only receive a 90-day medical certification for driving. During that time, the driver will have to undergo mandatory sleep apnea screening before they can get back behind the wheel.
Drivers who are 42 years old or older and have a BMI of 33 or higher will also face additional screening if they meet other warning signs, such as loud snoring or large neck size. A person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes pauses in breathing or shallow breathing while asleep. It affects normal sleeping patterns and does not allow the sufferer to get a restful night's sleep. People with sleep apnea often suffer from excessive drowsiness and fatigue during the day.
Older men who are overweight are the most likely to develop the condition, which is why the FMCSA is considering the regulations.
Could Mean Less Sleepy Truckers On The Road
The regulations would also immediately take drivers off the road who do not comply with treatment, are observed falling asleep at the wheel or cause an accident due to fatigue. Doctors would also be able to disqualify drivers who pose a high risk.
The regulations are likely to move forward. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court upheld that a trucking company could make a driver submit to sleep apnea screening. The driver was suing the company for disability discrimination.
Tell Us What You Think
Are the new regulations fair, or does more need to be done to curb drowsy truck driving? Do you think the regulations are discriminatory? Let us know what you think. Additionally, if you or someone you love has been hurt because of a sleepy truck driver and are unsure of what to do, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights and options.