Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Drowsy Truck Drivers

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle October 21 2020 8:13 pm

Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Drowsy Truck Drivers

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle October 21 2020 8:13 pm
Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Drowsy Truck Drivers

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related health condition that leads to increased drowsiness, and that commonly affects commercial truck drivers. Sleep apnea significantly increases the risk that a driver will be involved in a traffic accident.

Sleep apnea is a common ailment of truck drivers, and it can lead to serious truck accidents born of drowsy driving. If a drowsy truck driver leaves you injured in a truck accident, it’s time to consult with a dedicated Kansas truck accident attorney.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is related to breathing interruptions during the sleep cycle. These interruptions amount to pauses in one’s breathing, and they can last for more than 10 seconds at a time – and can occur up to 400 times each night. As you might imagine, sleep apnea is a serious condition that can be life-threatening, and that often goes both undiagnosed and unrecognized. 

The Statistic

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shares the results of a study conducted in conjunction with other major players, such as the University of Pennsylvania, which finds that a full 28 percent of all commercial truck drivers suffer from mild to severe sleep apnea. The sheer number of truck drivers affected by this exhaustion-inducing condition is extremely significant.

Sleep Apnea Affects Driving

Because sleep apnea affects one’s sleep, it also has other important effects, including:

  1. Decreased alertness and performance (including driving performance)
  2. Difficulty staying awake 
  3. Difficulty focusing one’s eyes
  4. Increased reaction times

All told, motorists who suffer from sleep apnea are at increased risk of being involved in drowsy-driving accidents. And motorists, including truckers, don’t have to fall asleep to be a serious risk behind the wheel – being less attentive or alert than one should be is all it takes.  

Can Truckers with Sleep Apnea Keep on Trucking?

FMCSA does not directly address the issue of sleep apnea, but they do prohibit anyone who is diagnosed with a medical condition that is likely to impede their ability to drive safely from being medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), such as a semi. Sleep apnea is one such condition. As such, trucking companies must not allow – or require – truckers with unsuccessfully treated sleep apnea to man their rigs. Treatment for sleep apnea – when carefully adhered to – can be highly effective and offers the best chance that the affected truck driver is safe to return to the road. 

Seek the Professional Legal Counsel You Need from an Experienced Kansas Truck Accident Attorney 

Truck accidents are among the deadliest accidents on our roads. If a drowsy trucker leaves you or someone you care about injured in a truck accident, the intrepid truck accident attorney at Pyle Law in Kansas is committed to crafting your tightest case in support of compensation that covers the full extent of your physical, financial, and emotional damages. Your case matters, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 620-374-9299 for more information today.

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Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.