Regulation Withdrawal Could Lead to More Truck Accidents

While the Trump administration seeks to eliminate regulations in general as a means to create a “free market” and more jobs, such acts could result in unsafe roadways. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects many individuals including truck drivers and other operators of heavy machinery. A number of catastrophic incidents have drawn attention to the disorder. Recently, a train operator with this disorder crashed into a train station in Hoboken, New Jersey in an accident that injured over 100 passengers.

As a result of the increased awareness of sleep apnea, the Obama administration proposed required screening for train engineers and truck drivers to determine if they have the condition.

Trump’s Decision to Withdraw Testing

Recently, the Trump administration announced that it had decided to withdraw required screening and other regulations that may put a limit to economic growth. Health and consumer advocacy organizations have responded unfavorably to the setback, as they view the screenings as necessary to maintain safety on the road.

How Sleep Apnea Affects Truck Drivers

Sleep apnea is a condition that one in 10 people have on average and it is becoming even more common as the obesity rate continues. Gaining weight can cause increased compression or obstruction of the airway, which often results in the condition. In more severe cases, sleep apnea symptoms can resemble narcolepsy, with affected individuals falling asleep spontaneously. The main symptom that sets sleep apnea apart from narcolepsy is respiratory problems. People with sleep apnea can’t properly breathe at night, which can cause them to wake up suddenly or decrease their quality of sleep, leaving them groggy and impaired in the morning.

Since even individuals who claim to sleep well throughout the night may have this condition, screening for sleep apnea is crucial to help identify the condition and prevent future truck accidents.

Treating Sleep Apnea and Avoiding Truck Accidents

Medical professionals have ultimately decided that certain employees require screening and treatment for sleep apnea, particularly those who work in the transportation industry. One downside to this is that testing and treatment have often caused truckers to be prescribed to wear forced-air breathing apparatuses for treatment which can cost up to $1,500. On the other hand, screening and treatment is necessary to keep trucking safe for everyone on the road.