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FMCSA Advisers Recommend Sleep Apnea Screening Standards to Prevent Accidents

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advisers for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are increasing pressure on the agency to establish stronger screening standards for the detection of sleep apnea among truck drivers. The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board are specifically recommending that the agency require medical examiners to test truck drivers with a body mass index of 35 and above for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea-linked truck driver fatigue has received a lot of attention as one of the primary safety issues facing the trucking industry. Several studies have confirmed that sleep apnea is associated with obesity. San Fernando valley truck accident lawyers have found that truck drivers are at a high risk of obesity because of their lifestyle, which includes poor diet and lack of exercise. In fact, the incidence of sleep apnea in the truck driver population is higher than in the general population.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person suffers from respiratory interruptions at night, and as a result, suffers from fatigue and lethargy in the daytime. A person who suffers from sleep apnea is constantly tired and drowsy. A truck driver like this is more likely to doze off at the wheel, increasing the risks of an accident. In fact, truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea are at a 242% higher risk of being involved in an accident compared to those who do not suffer from the sleep disorder.

Now, the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board are advising the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to modify its guidance to include requirements that would immediately disqualify truck drivers who fall asleep at the wheel, or are involved in causing an accident while they are driving under the influence of fatigue. The committees are also advising that drivers with a body mass index of 35 and above be screened for sleep apnea, because recent research has found that body mass index is a primary indicator of the presence of sleep apnea. Typically, the higher the person's body mass index, the higher the risk of sleep apnea. By screening overweight truck drivers for sleep apnea, trucking companies would be able to detect the condition as quickly as possible, and place the driver in a treatment program.

Motorcycle Accident Fatality Numbers up Again

Thursday, December 01, 2011

In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had announced news that was very welcome to San Fernando Valley motorcycle accident lawyers. The agency reported a decline in the number of motorcycle accident fatalities nationwide, the first such decline recorded in more than 11 years. However, in 2010, it was an entirely different picture. According to new data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2010, there was an increase in the number of motorcyclists killed in accidents, from 4,469 in 2009 to 4,580 in 2010.

That made for an increase of .7%, and although that may seem like a minor increase, it is still important because it signifies that any progress that has been made in reducing these fatality numbers over the past years, may have already been lost.

The federal agency has not yet gotten around to giving an explanation for the increase in motorcycle accidents-related fatalities. However, San Fernando Valley personal injury lawyers have a few theories. For one thing, in 2010, there was an increase in the number of vehicle miles traveled, with Americans traveling more miles last year. That has meant heavier vehicular traffic, and as a result, an environment that isn't as safe for motorcyclists. The previous year’s lower motorcycle accident death rate had been linked by some experts to a drop in vehicle miles traveled across the country, because of the recession. That doesn't seem to be true any more, and it could be that there are more numbers of automobiles on the streets, and these are colliding with motorcycles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not released data about the causes of motorcycle accidents last year, including rates of helmet use among motorcyclists and other important data that could provide clues to the reasons for this increase. However, any San Fernando Valley motorcycle accident attorney would advise that a motorcyclist always wear helmets while riding, and look out for vehicles.

32% of Drivers Admit to Drowsy Driving

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Close to 96% of all motorists in a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believe that driving while drowsy is unacceptable.  However, that doesn't stop 32% of them from driving while drowsy anyway.  One out of every 3 drivers in the survey admitted to driving while fatigued when they were so tired they could barely keep their eyes open.

Last year, a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy driving was linked to one out of every six fatal accidents, and one out of every eight seriously injurious accidents.   That survey really revealed to Los Angeles car accident attorneys the extent to which the public and transportation safety agencies have underestimated the role of drowsy driving in accidents.

Part of the problem is that there are no measures or indicators to identify drowsy driving, such as those that exist for intoxicated driving or speeding. There are no devices and indicators to help reveal whether a person is too drowsy drive.

In many accidents caused by drowsy driving, motorists fail to mention to police officers that they dozed off at the wheel, for obvious reasons. In fact, Los Angeles car accident lawyers suspect that the actual number of people being killed in accidents caused by sleepy drivers is much higher than we currently know.

This week, the National Sleep Foundation wants Americans to wake up to the dangers of drowsy driving. The Foundation is marking National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, hoping for more discussion about avoiding driving while fatigued. 

Studies indicate that a person driving without sleep for twenty hours is just as impaired as someone driving with a BAC level of .08%. We have zero tolerance for intoxicated driving, and have fairly successfully promoted a culture that finds drunk driving abhorrent. We need to promote the same mindset for drowsy driving too.

Welcome To Our Blog

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Welcome to Our Blog

In the coming weeks and months, we plan to utilize this blog to keep our clients informed of cases around the country that are related to the Practice Areas that we cover.  

Thank you for visiting our Personal Injury Law Blog.


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