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Federal trucking regulations to test for sleep apnea canceled

Large trucks play a vital role in the nation's economy, while also providing an important service bringing goods back and forth. However, these vehicles are large, travel at very high speeds and the drivers are frequently under time constraints as to when they need to get their delivery to its destination. Montana residents are fully aware of these vehicles and might forget about the dangers they present, but a truck accident can cause serious injuries or even death.

It is important that federal trucking regulations ensure safety with these vehicles, but that is often contingent on the philosophy of the presidential administration. A recent decision has eliminated the plan to test truckers and train engineers for sleep apnea. Both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration announced that they will not require testing for sleep apnea for operators. This issue was believed to have been responsible for train accidents in New Jersey and New York. Only one railroad in New York currently tests by its own choice.

Sleep apnea can be a problem for drivers, as it closes the person's airway while they are sleeping and stops their breathing. This results in being tired during the day. Truck driver fatigue is a frequently cited reason for truck crashes. The National Transportation Safety Board says that the rule would increase safety, as sleep apnea is believed to have been a cause in 10 rail and highway crashes that the agency investigated over the past 17 years.

When there is a truck accident, it is essential to determine how it happened. Because there can be serious injuries costing significant money in medical treatment and lost wages, or fatalities depriving a family of a loved one, a legal filing is often the only way to recover compensation. Discussing a case with a legal professional experienced in cases involving driver fatigue or conditions that lead to it can help.

Source: bozemandailychronicle.com, "Experts: Lives at risk if no sleep tests for train engineers," Aug. 8, 2017

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