US government officials are abandoning their plans to mandate sleep apnea screening for tractor trailer drivers and train engineers. This decision could put millions of lives at risk, according to some safety advocates.
The Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated last week that they are not pursuing the regulation that would mandate the testing for sleep apnea. This sleep disorder has been blamed for fatal rail crashes in New York City and New Jersey, and also several truck crashes on US highways.
These federal agencies stated that it should be up to the discretion of the trucking companies and railroads to decide if employees need to be tested. One railroad that does do sleep apnea tests, Metro North in the suburbs of New York City, determined that 12% of engineers suffer from sleep apnea.
The decision to cut the sleep apnea regulation is one of the steps of President Trump’s effort to reduce federal regulations. The Trump administration also has delayed or withdrawn hundreds of regulations since he came into office. He says that these changes will increase economic growth.
Sleep apnea is a problem for the transportation industry in the US because sufferers of the condition are awakened repeatedly and robbed of needed sleep as their breathing stops. This leads to drowsiness during the day.
Safety advocates in the rail and trucking industries maintain that operators of trucks and trains cannot suffer from sleep apnea and safely do their jobs. They also note that companies cannot be trusted to test their engineers and drivers for sleep apnea; these tests cost money and companies clearly have a financial incentive to skip the tests.
As personal injury attorneys for the victims of truck crashes, we know that sleep apnea is a common disorder for truck drivers that can cause deadly truck crashes. Many truck drivers are overweight, and sleep apnea is a common condition for people who are obese.
Our personal injury attorneys regret that the Trump administration is nixing the requirement for rail and trucking companies to test operators for sleep apnea. We have seen many deadly truck crashes caused by drivers falling asleep.
Those who are injured by sleepy truck drivers should know that they have many legal options available. A personal injury lawsuit can be filed against the trucker and the trucking company. You can receive compensation for your serious truck accident injuries, including pain and suffering and lost wages.