Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Woman Wages War against Truckers' Sleep Apnea

A New Braunfels, Texas woman, Wanda Lindsay, has begun a crusade against sleep apnea in truckers. She lost her husband John when a semi truck slammed into the back of their stopped car in a construction zone. The truck was traveling over 65 miles an hour and had its cruise control on. It did not apply its brakes prior to the accident. The truck driver claims he had glanced away from the road and looked back to see the stopped car, but without enough time to stop. The widow thinks the truth is different from his official story.

The truck driver had been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea weeks before the accident, but had not received any treatment. Sleep apnea puts drivers at an increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel and being involved in just the type of accident that killed John Lindsay.

The trucking company, Celadon, claims it had never seen those test results, or else the driver would not have been on the road that day. The question is, why hadn't it seen those results?

Nearly a third of truckers and other commercial drivers suffer from sleep apnea, and when these vehicles are involved in a deadly accident, it is someone other than the trucker that dies, nearly nine times out of ten. Truck drivers need to be tested for sleep apnea and those results need to be made known to their companies. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has urged mandatory testing of truck drivers and other commercial drivers and pilots since 2009, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has spent years considering the issue but has not yet issued any rules.

If you want to help get truckers with sleep apnea off the road, you can visit the website of the John Lindsay Foundation to contribute to the cause.

If you fear you may be suffering from sleep apnea, if you have the symptoms of sleep apnea, you should be tested. And if you are looking to learn more about all your sleep apnea treatment options, please contact a local sleep dentist today.

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posted by Dr. Candelaria at 8:53 AM