Sleep Apnea’s Role in Trucking Accidents

Attorney Blog

truckWhen we talk about drowsy driving and trucking accidents, should we be thinking about issues beyond the sheer number of hours spent on America’s highways? According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may play a role in truck accidents in DuPage County and across the country. To be sure, a recent study from Harvard University’s School of Public Health determined that truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea and do not adhere to proper treatment regimens may be more likely than truckers without the ailment to be involved in dangerous truck collisions.

Monitoring and Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea in the Trucking Industry 

The recent study, which brought together researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Minnesota-Morris, and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explored the “results of the first large-scale employer program to screen, diagnose, and monitor OSA treatment adherence in the U.S. trucking industry.” The research was published late last month in the journal Sleep. In short, the researchers wanted to determine how well the trucking industry has monitored truckers’ screening for sleep apnea and the rate at which those truckers adhere to treatment plans.

What did the study determine? According to Stefanos Kales, the senior author of the study and the Chief of Occupational Medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, the U.S. trucking industry needs to regularly screen commercial truck drivers for OSA. And when it turns out that truckers have sleep apnea, employers need to monitor their drivers to ensure that they are abiding by treatment plans. As Kales explained, “mandating screening, diagnosis, and treatment would reduce large truck and bus accidents, and therefore deaths and injuries among the motoring public.”

How Many Truck Accidents Result from Untreated or Improperly Treated Sleep Apnea? 

Although we cannot know for certain how many truck accidents in DuPage County were caused directly by untreated or improperly treated sleep apnea, we do know that around 20 percent of all large truck accidents result from drowsy driving. As Kales points out, that number means that drowsy or fatigued driving likely accounts for about 9,000 fatalities and as many as 220,000 severe injuries every year. When such accidents happen during daytime hours, we may be able to attribute them to OSA.

As the study explains, sleep apnea is “a disorder in which sleep is disrupted by repeated stops and starts of breathing,” and it is “the most common cause of excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue.” As of now, the U.S. trucking industry does not require commercial truck drivers to be screen for OSA. However, based on the study’s findings, we know that truckers who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and failed to adhere to their treatment “had a rate of preventable crashes five-fold greater than that of the control group which had similar driving experience.” In other words, proper treatment of OSA can reduce the risk of truck crashes.

Contact a West Chicago Trucking Accident Lawyer

Trucking accidents result in serious and often fatal injuries. If someone you love recently suffered severe injuries in a truck accident, an experienced West Chicago trucking accident lawyer can help with your case. When another driver’s negligence results in accidents and injuries, the victim and her family deserves to seek financial compensation. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices to discuss your options for filing a trucking accident lawsuit.


I wouldn’t have gotten the relief from my injury if Jay had not gotten involved.

I was referred to Woodruff, Johnson & Evans by a friend after a work related car accident. The workmen comp adjuster was giving me the run around. I was having terrible back pain but because it was work related my doctors could not provide me the treatment I need. Jay Johnson began investigating my case […]

Randel M

Outstanding job for my mother and me.

Very professional. Was referred to me by my mother. Did an outstanding job for my mother and me. Great service!

Valente G

Russ was the best!

Russ was the best! I got his number from my cousin. Best phone call I ever made! Always there for anything I needed and got all my bills paid and some compensation for me! Highly recommend.

Timothy F

Thank you for a good service!!

Steve Sandler presented himself professionally with good rapport and showed concern for my well being. I will definitely recommend him to others!! Thank you!!

Sherifat O

This man knows what he is doing.

I can’t say enough about Jon Walker. He took my case after being denied. Told me everything I had to do and kept me calm during the wait and got me approved! If you want a professional lawyer who knows how to get you approved call WOODRUFF JOHNSON & EVANS I cannot thank you enough […]

Steve G

Far beyond what I expected!

Russ Haugen helped me far beyond what I expected. He was polite and communicated with me every step of the way. Thank you for everything!

Mikahl S

I really felt like I had an ally!

Jon Walker represented me in a Work Comp case. I really felt like I had an ally and someone who was going to protect me and my rights after I was injured at work. Jon was extremely attentive and available to me when I had questions or needed advice throughout the entire process. Also, Jon […]

Juli T

Recommendation to Blessing

I had a lawyer working on my insurance claim that was extremely unprofessional and after 8 months of getting nowhere, I fired him. Dexter Evans was recommended to me by a family member. He was extremely professional and made the insurance claim very easy for me. He was very informative and always got back to […]

Brooke D

I am forever Grateful for this Firm!

I am forever Grateful for this Firm. Steven Sandler stayed on top of my auto accident. I was kept informed on every thing. They were there for me and I will be sure to recommend them. Thank you!!!

Lisa R

¡Estaba muy satisfecho con los resultados!

¡Estaba muy satisfecho con los resultados! Mi abogado, Jay Johnson, me explicó el proceso para que entendiera lo que estaba sucediendo con mi caso. Estaba muy satisfecho con los resultados y recomendaría a mi familia y amigos que necesitan ayuda legal que vayan a Woodruff Johnson & Evans.

View All Testimonials

Get Your Free Consultation