“As many as 28 percent of commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders have sleep apnea”, says US motor carrier authority.
This means sleep apnea truck drivers pose a considerable risk for themselves and other road users. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has prepared the following list of risk factors that must be considered when a person is being assessed for sleep apnea. According to the FMCSA article, sleep apnea is a sleep related disorder whereby the person stops breathing anything up to 400 times in a night.
“Sleep apnea occurs in all age groups and both sexes, but there are certain factors that put you at higher risk:
- A family history of sleep apnea
- Being overweight
- A large neck size (17 inches or greater for men, 16 inches or greater for women)
- Being age 40 or older
- Having a small upper airway
- Having a recessed chin, small jaw or a large overbite
- Smoking and alcohol use
FMCSA warns that symptoms of sleep apnea are ‘dangerous and potentially deadly’ for commercial truck drivers. These symptoms can include the following:
- daytime sleepiness;
- falling asleep at inappropriate times;
- loud snoring;
- loss of sex drive;
- morning headaches;
- frequent nighttime urination;
- lack of concentration; and
- memory impairment.
While these symptoms may also indicate other sleep disorders and medical conditions, the chronic tiredness that comes with sleep apnea is a potential death threat to truck drivers and anyone else who is in command of a motor vehicle on the roads.
The good news is, according to FMCSA, that sleep apnea is a treatable disorder with an effective therapy being provided through the use of devices such as a continuous pressure air pump (CPAP) machine. Other lifestyle support for management of the problem is to lose weight, avoid sleeping on your back and avoiding alcohol consumption before bedtime. Other treatments could involve the use of dental devices and possibly surgery.
“Once you have received treatment for sleep apnea and comply with your treatment plan,” according to the FMCSA, “you can do your job as safely as someone who doesn’t have the disorder.”
“If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, the FMCSA and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) urge commercial truck and motorcoach drivers to discuss the problem with their doctor.” Read the full article from FMCSA here…..
Although sleep apnea truck drivers can pose a considerable risk of fatigued related truck accidents, it appears that, with appropriate treatment, it is possible to drive safely.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article and anywhere in this website is meant for the purposes of creating awareness in the community about sleep apnea and associated topics. The information provided is not meant to be relied upon for making medical decisions and no responsibility will be taken for any actions taken as a result of reading this information.