In an attempt to improve trucking industry safety, the trucking industry is taking a proactive stance regarding driver fatigue and it being a contributor to fatal accidents on the road. Many accidents can be attributed to a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. This condition, which violates trucking industry safety, puts drivers at more risk for falling asleep when driving. When someone has sleep apnea, their breathing stops repeatedly throughout the night. Their body does not consistently get the oxygen it needs and health problems such as diabetes and heart disease can develop as a result.
Common symptoms of this condition are daytime sleepiness and nodding off while performing daily activities. Nodding off behind the wheel is very unsafe and makes the driver a risk to everyone else on the road. Studies have shown that up to 28% of drivers suffer from this particular sleep disorder. People who endure this condition often do not even know they have it. Employers can put trucking industry safety first by implementing an employee sleep screening program to help detect these conditions in their employees.
Risk factors may help you determine if you are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. It has been directly linked with obesity. Over half of the people who have sleep apnea are overweight. It is more common in men and can be more of a risk as you become older. If other family members have developed apnea, you are more likely to have it. People that have smaller airways due to allergies or the shape of their nose, throat, or mouth are also more at risk. Some other risk factors are smoking, high blood pressure, and heart problems such as stroke or heart failure.
Research has found that sleep apnea and truckers is the most prevalent cause for trucking related accidents. This condition can deteriorate drivers sleep leaving them very tired during the day and unable to function as well as they normally would. A medical specialist can help diagnose and detect this disorder allowing a driver the treatment they need to improve their sleep and practice trucking industry safety every time they get behind the wheel of their truck.