North Carolina highways may have gotten a bit more hazardous in light of a notice that was issued on Aug. 4 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency, which is part of the Department of Transportation, has stated that it was withdrawing a proposed rule that would have standardized screening procedures and protocols for truck drivers who were suspected of having sleep apnea.
In July, the DOT had indicated that the proposal might be in jeopardy. It had spent much of 2016 seeking feedback from truck drivers, trucking companies and others involved in the industry, but now says that it did not obtain enough data that would have justified a new rule. Presently, medical personnel use one of several different types of screening protocols in order to determine who should be referred for an apnea test. It has caused some criticism from drivers who believe that some of the referrals are unnecessary. The proposed rule would have given more clarity to the situation and would have also required mandatory referrals for drivers who exceeded a specified body mass index.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person’s breathing to stop or to be intermittent during sleep. It can have a variety of effects if left untreated, and one of them is an increased likelihood of a traffic accident if an affected driver nods off behind the wheel due to not getting enough sleep.
A semi truck accident that was caused by a drowsy truck driver can leave occupants of other vehicles involved in the collision facing the need for lengthy and costly medical treatment. People who have been harmed in this manner may want to meet with a personal injury attorney to learn if there is a likelihood of obtaining compensation from the trucker or the trucking company itself for the losses that have been sustained.