Over 40% of Americans report not getting enough sleep at night. Those numbers prove especially dangerous within the transportation industry. Within the transportation industry, truck driver sleep apnea is a major concern that is not going unnoticed. In a recent poll, the National Sleep Foundation found truck drivers, train operators, and pilots reported being tired on the job, and sleepiness affecting their work.
Thanks to increased recommendations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration examiners are getting better at screening for those with truck driver sleep apnea based on numerous criteria.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), is a sleep disorder that occurs when an individual’s upper airway closes off while they sleep, causing the person to temporarily quit breathing. “Even though the person is trying to breathe, the upper airway closes, blocks the airflow, oxygen drops, the heart and blood pressure are stressed by this,” explained Dr. Roseanne Barker of the Barker Sleep Institute. “There’s constant awakening through the night because of the breathing difficulties.”
In 2010, new rules were issued limiting flight hours and increasing rest times for pilots. Now, Dr. Barker says trucking companies are evaluating their drivers’ schedules, too. “They need to be extra sharp because they’re driving larger vehicles, or they may be transporting passengers, or hazardous materials. And so we need them to be even safer you could say than the general public out there driving.”
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