Driver Fatigue Truck Accident Lawyer
Pearland, TX truck wreck lawyers respond: Sleep apnea might have caused your Pearland, TX truck wreck. But it’s just as likely that the ordinary demands of long haul trucking caused the truck driver’s fatigue.
Truckers must meet strict delivery deadlines. Their work starts with the loading of their cargo onto their rigs, and doesn’t end until that cargo is safely unloaded. Current regulations permit truckers to work for 11 consecutive hours in a 14-hour shift. That’s a long shift, and many a trucker might be motivated by job pressures to work much longer than that.
Trucking companies are under pressure to maximize resources in the current economic downturn. High fuel costs mean that the trucking companies have to reduce expenses elsewhere. So they’re trying to get more hours out of fewer drivers. And truck drivers, having to compete more fiercely for fewer jobs, might be willing to take the risks of fudging their required logbooks, and driving extra long hours.
Driving long hours on monotonous highways has been shown to lead to dangerous “road trance.” A truck driver suffering from this highway hypnosis experiences increased risks of a truck wreck from slowed reaction times, diminished attention and awareness, reduced decision-making abilities, and simply falling asleep at the wheel.
Pearland, TX truck wreck lawyers generally agree that a sleep apnea disorder increases a truck driver’s risks of a wreck. Severe sleep apnea, or OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) is the most prevalent form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissues surrounding the throat collapse upon the breathing passage as muscles relax during sleep. This blocks the airway, and the person with OSA will briefly wake as the body compensates to begin breathing again.
This sleep apnea might occur 400 times in a single night. Those with OSA have usually become conditioned to the point where they might never consciously awake during these nighttime occurrences. But their sleep patterns will be disturbed, and they won’t get the same rest from their hours of sleep as people without OSA.
Older people and obese people, who tend to have poorer muscle tone or additional amounts of soft tissue at the throat, experience elevated risks of sleep apnea. Older truck drivers, who spend lengthy periods of time behind the wheel and don’t have time to exercise or eat healthy meals, experience the highest incidences of sleep apnea.
People who don’t benefit from regular sleep routines at home have been shown to have greater risks of sleep apnea. Pearland, TX truck wreck lawyers know that truckers spend most of their time sleeping away from home, and their delivery schedules rarely allow them to establish a sleeping routine. Many of them are at work before 6 a.m. daily.
So, indeed, sleep apnea may have been a factor in your Pearland, TX truck wreck. But ordinary trucker fatigue could also have been to blame. You could call us for a free consultation about your accident. We’re Pearland, TX truck wreck lawyers with more than 12 years of experience tracking down the causes of truck accidents. We could examine the circumstances of your wreck and help you determine the causes that were to blame for your accident injuries.