Recently, our Illinois trucking accident blog posted a report which detailed the settlement of a trucking accident lawsuit. The $3 million settlement was awarded to the family of a man who died as the result of a devastating trucking accident that occurred in May 2010. The lawsuit marked the first time in which sleep apnea was acknowledged for playing a prominent role in a fatal trucking accident. During the course of the trial, it was found that in addition to the driver of the large commercial vehicle refusing to treat his diagnosed sleep apnea prior to the accident, the trucking company failed to ensure that follow up care was provided.
MarketWatch.com reports that as part of the agreement of the trucking accident lawsuit settlement, the trucking carrier has agreed to implement a program that educates its employees in the area of sleep apnea and the dangers that will likely ensue by driving with the condition. Our Chicago truck accident lawyers read that when reinforcing sleep apnea education, it is important to distinguish to commercial vehicle drivers that as long as a driver treats their sleep apnea condition, they will not be subject to invalidation of their commercial driver’s license. Current policy in the trucking industry reveals that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not require that commercial vehicle driver’s be tested for sleep apnea, despite the significant treat the condition poses.
Despite current statistics that show that almost one-third of all commercial vehicle drivers suffer from sleep apnea, the article points out that trucking companies must implement an effective sleep program that mandates companies to treat at-risk drivers, all the while remaining productive in the transportation industry. One group, called Sleep Health Center’s National Services Group, has garnered nationwide attention for their ability to guide transportation companies through policy development, sleep apnea program education, as well as, sleep disorder management in order to avoid the recurrence of devastatingly fatal trucking accidents.
The article points out that educating drivers on healthy sleep is extremely beneficial. Our Chicago trucking accident attorneys read that healthy and adequate sleep is imperative to a truck driver’s wellness and safety. Additionally, with more trucking companies implementing sleep apnea education systems, it has proven to lower overall healthcare costs and fatigued-related accidents. Overall, these types of programs seek the improve employee performance, retention, and most of all prevent additional fatal accidents that are attributed to the medical condition of sleep apnea.