The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are abandoning planned regulations that require testing for fatigue-inducing disorders for truck drivers and train engineers. Safety experts say that millions of lives will continue to be at risk for accidents caused by fatigued commercial drivers. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have found that driver fatigue is a factor in one third of all commercial truck crashes. Sleep apnea can cause daytime drowsiness and is to blame for multiple train derailments and deaths. The Metro-North Railroad found that 11.6 percent of its engineers suffer from sleep apnea.
Plans were underway to protect the public from fatigued commercial truck drivers and railroad engineers until President Donald Trump’s campaign to drastically slash federal safety regulations. The Trump administrations decision to kill sleep apnea regulation is likely to cause preventable deaths and injuries.
Commercial truck drivers and railroad engineers suffering from obstructive sleep apnea do not get adequate rest because airways close and breathing decreases and can even temporarily stop. Individuals who have undiagnosed sleep apnea are unaware they have experienced periods of sleep interrupted by breathing difficulties when they awaken in the morning. The result can be dangerous daytime drowsiness leading to catastrophic semi-truck or railroad crashes. Last year the FRA issued a temporary safety advisory to have railroads begin sleep apnea testing while complete federal rules were being approved. Now these safety regulations will not be enacted causing significant risks to the public.
The Van Blois Law has specialized knowledge in handling crashes caused by fatigued drivers. In one case a fatigued big rig truck driver drove across the United States and negligently drove into a California intersection in front of an automobile killing the driver and causing severe traumatic brain injury to the passenger. In a Nevada case, a fatigued truck driver fell asleep and drifted across the center line killing an on coming driver whose family retained our law firm. In both cases and in other similar cases we have obtained substantial settlements for our clients.