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Sleep apnea could factor into some truck accidents

Most Akron residents can recall a time when they felt as though they could fall asleep anywhere -- standing up, at their desks or even behind the wheel of their vehicles. Drowsy driving has gained more attention recently and is often cited as one of the most underreported reasons for crashes. Some people have trouble getting good sleep due to sleep apnea, and recent studies indicate that it could be a factor in some truck accidents.

A study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration discovered that nearly one-third of truck drivers suffer from this condition. People with obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing because the muscles in their throats relax periodically. These episodes make it almost impossible to get into REM sleep, which is considered the most restorative type of sleep.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is one of the consequences of sleep apnea, along with headaches and difficulty concentrating just to name a few. Drivers could also suffer from hypertension, cardiac issues and more as a result of sleep apnea. Considering these side effects of this condition, it is not difficult to see where this could create a danger to truck drivers and those they share the roads with every time they get behind the wheel.

Every time an Akron motorist is near a big rig, there is a one in three chance the driver suffers from sleep apnea. In the aftermath of a crash involving a fatigued truck driver, it would be worthwhile to determine whether he or she suffers from this condition. It could provide the causal link between the accident and the injuries suffered by innocent victims. More research could help indicate just how many truck accidents result from drivers failing to undergo diagnosis and treatment of this condition in order to reduce the risk to unsuspecting motorists.

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