Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder that can stop a person’s breathing randomly throughout the night. This disturbs sleep and often leads to daytime sleepiness, which is a major concern for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Recent studies have shown the effects of sleep apnea and truck driving around the world. In Australia alone a research showed that 41 percent of truck drivers have obstructive sleep apnea. More need to be made aware of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers.

In reference to a study by the journal SLEEP, which interviewed over 500 truck drivers, only 4.4 percent reported having been previously diagnosed with sleep apnea. However after a study, a shocking 41 percent of the drivers have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Other parts of the study showed that 50 percent of the drivers were obese, 36 percent were overweight and 49 percent smoke cigarettes.

Keep in mind this study was only conducted in Australia, and the results may not be identical in the United States. This being said, NPR at one point reported that up to one-third of truck drivers in America also suffer from this pervasive health condition. With fatigue being a major subject, the National Sleep Foundation released a poll earlier this year regarding transportation workers, stating more regulations may come for licensed drivers.

Results among the National Sleep Foundation’s poll showed that roughly one-fourth of pilots and train operators experienced on the job fatigue at least once a week. These subjects reported this fatigue to be strong enough to affect how they did their jobs. This also showed the fatigue to led to several “near miss” crashes. As 11 percent of pilots, 14 percent of truck drivers and 18 percent of train operators, admitted to these frightening occurrences.

Truck News states, a 6-foot-tall driver who weighs 258 pounds has a BMI of 35. Keep in mind that someone with a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. In the midst of all these reports and surveys, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will likely start screening truck drivers for sleep apnea if they have a body mass index of 35 or more, as reported by Truck News. Hopefully with the use of CPAP machines
these “near miss” crashes will be no longer and help Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers.

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