Sleep Apnea Linked to Truck Crashes

Stephen Burks, the principal investigator of the Truckers & Turnover Project at the University of Minnesota, published interesting and possibly lifesaving findings of a study comparing truckers who suffer from sleep apnea and drivers without the condition. 

“The rate of serious, preventable crashes was five times higher among truckers with sleep apnea who didn’t use their CPAP machine (a machine used to treat sleep apnea) compared to the control group. The crash rate among drivers with sleep apnea who always or sometimes used their CPAP machine was similar to that of the control group (drivers who do not have sleep apnea).” –

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes breathing interruptions during sleep. Those who suffer from apnea have pauses in breathing that lasting up to or more than 10 seconds. These pauses can occur up to 400 times a night.  

Those who suffer from sleep apnea often struggle to stay away during the day, have difficulty keeping their eyes open, and have slower reaction times. The day to day driving characteristics of drivers with sleep apnea are comparable to the driving characteristics of a drowsy driver. It’s hard to believe a truck driver could get behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler in such a condition, but they do. 

There’s no telling how many drivers are on the road with sleep apnea but it is abundantly clear that all drivers, especially truck drivers, who suffer from but neglect to treat sleep apnea pose a real danger to themselves and others. Anyone who suspects they suffer from sleep apnea should seek medical help as soon as possible. 

If you or a loved on has been hurt in a truck crash contact us today.