Australian Study Shows 41% of Truckers Have Sleep Apnea

Posted on April 3, 2012

A new study conducted by Australian researchers focusing on the habits of truckers could have far reaching implications for the entire world.

The most startling statistics that researchers uncovered involve the prevalence of the condition known as sleep apnea in long-haul Australian truckers.  Published in the journal SLEEP, the results have shown that a whopping 41% of these truckers suffer from some kind of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person’s breathing to become obstructed throughout their resting time.  This can have a severe impact on a trucker’s ability to operate a vehicle properly during the day, as this interrupted sleep can manifest itself as general drowsiness while a trucker is on his or her shift.

While the numbers in America might be different, National Public Radio has suggested that as many as one third of U.S. drivers could suffer from the disorder.

Earlier this year, the National Sleep Foundation also conducted a poll which showed that fatigue isn’t limited to truck drivers.  A quarter of pilots and train conductors reported feeling fatigued at work once a week, with 14% of truck drivers stating that fatigue has contributed to them nearly causing an accident.

As a personal injury lawyer in Riverside, I find these numbers distressing.  The correlation between sleep apnea and fatigue at work is obvious, and this could definitely affect highway safety.  It’s my hope as a Riverside car accident attorney that answers to this problem are forthcoming from safety experts and medical professionals.

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