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When truck driver fatigue goes deeper than sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation isn't exclusive to long-haul truck drivers. With the fast pace of life, you more than likely know what it feels like to want more sleep and not have the chance to get it. Even so, you still have to work, run errands and otherwise live your life, which often means driving. How many times have you forgotten the last few miles of your trip or found yourself yawning uncontrollably?

You may know that is dangerous enough, but when the person driving is supposed to be in control of a large and heavy vehicle that could weigh up to 80,000 pounds, lives are at risk. Sleep deprivation is one thing, but there could be a larger issue at work for around one-third of the truck drivers on the road with you - sleep apnea.

How would you know if you have sleep apnea?

If an individual suffers from sleep apnea, he or she stops breathing for a minimum of 10 seconds several times while sleeping. As you can imagine, this makes for a less than ideal night's sleep. Sufferers are often chronically fatigued. The symptoms include the following:

  • Choking or gasping while sleeping
  • Loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent urinating at night
  • Headaches and nausea in the morning
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of depression

If you suffer from one or more of these symptoms, you may want to see a doctor. The same could be said of truck drivers. Many feel that receiving a diagnosis would jeopardize their jobs. The other issue is that it could take several days to complete the testing needed to verify the diagnosis, which means time away from work.

What does sleep apnea mean for driving?

If a truck driver suffers from sleep apnea, it could prevent him or her from properly focusing on the road, reacting to an emergency or otherwise driving safely. Even if a truck driver manages to stay awake, his or her driving ability is definitely compromised. Even if there is no way to associate a certain accident with sleep apnea, evidence of sleep deprivation could give victims and their families a place to start when it comes to proving negligence in court.

A thorough investigation into the life of the truck driver that caused your crash could reveal sleep apnea as a factor. Whether you suffered serious injuries and/or lost a loved one, you could use that evidence in order to prove negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. If a Wyoming court rules in your favor, you could receive the compensation you deserve.

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