Crashes involving 18-wheelers and semi trucks can be the cause of severe personal injuries, major property damage and even death. In some cases, such accidents in West Virginia are caused by truck driver fatigue. Sleep apnea poses a particular risk when truckers are undiagnosed as the condition can make it difficult to have a restful night's sleep.
Because of the danger posed by truck accidents, the government has sought regulations to require commercial drivers to be tested for sleep apnea. However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is pursuing a lawsuit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over regulations pertaining to sleep apnea testing during required physical exams for truck drivers. OOIDA's case argues that the rules violate a 2013 law requiring the federal agency to complete a full rulemaking process with public comment before issuing new sleep apnea testing regulations.
FMCSA, for its part, argued that the regulation merely reflected pre-existing guidance for sleep apnea testing that predated the 2013 law. In January 2018, a three-judge federal appeals court panel ruled in favor of the federal agency. However, OOIDA is seeking a rehearing before all 12 judges on the court.
Sleep apnea is only one of the causes that can lead to truck driver fatigue, a dangerous threat on the road. People who have been injured due to a truck driver's drowsy, distracted or negligent driving can work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for the damages suffered as a result. A settlement could cover lost wages, pain and suffering and medical bills.