Sleep Apnea Among Truck Drivers May Increase Accident Risks in New Mexico
Our Las Cruces truck accident attorneys at the Law Office of Samuel I. Kane P.A. know that all truck drivers are required by law to pass the U.S. Department of Transportation’s physical exam before getting behind the wheel of a semi-truck.
As a result, they must maintain a current physical certification that must be updated every one to two years.
This certification not only ensures both the truck driver’s safety on the road, but that of other motorists traveling on the same roadways.
What Types of Physical Requirements Must Truck Drivers Meet for Certification?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlines Driver Medical Fitness for Duty Requirements for semi-truck drivers throughout the nation.
New Mexico truck drivers will fail the exam if they have any of the following medical conditions:
- Cardiovascular/Respiratory Disease
- High Blood Pressure (for which they are not being medicated)
- Loss of one/multiple limbs
- Nervous/Psychiatric Disorder
- Poor Eyesight (without corrective lenses)
While sleep apnea is not on the list of disqualifying medical issues, according to numerous studies, drivers with untreated sleep apnea put themselves at a much greater risk for being involved in a serious accident.
Two of the most common factors that can lead to truck accidents include drowsiness and daytime fatigue — both of which are commonly caused by obstructive sleep apnea.
These studies found that over twelve months, — per every one thousand truck drivers who turned down sleep apnea treatment — seventy serious and preventable accidents were likely to occur.
Comparably, over the same period and among truck drivers who either were not diagnosed with sleep apnea or who were effectively being treated for their affliction, only fourteen serious and preventable accidents were likely to occur.
Is It Illegal for Truck Drivers with Sleep Apnea to Operate Semis in New Mexico?
Since there is no existing standard for screening drivers for sleep apnea, the condition can go untreated in drivers who are unwilling to divulge their condition.
That could mean that truck drivers who suffer from the debilitating sleep disorder can still operate 18-wheelers, they are not required to inform their employer, or the FMSCA, of their condition, even though doing so may put other drivers on our roadways in danger.
If you have been hurt in a truck accident in New Mexico, contact our truck accident lawyer New Mexico at the Law Office of Samuel I. Kane, P.A. by calling (575) 222-0472 to schedule a free consultation today to learn about your legal rights and options in holding the truck driver or trucking company liable for your injuries.