Asleep at the Wheel — No Joke

Accident attorneys in Oklahoma City cite the most common reasons for serious truck and other motor vehicle accidents in our state:

  • Failure to follow the rules of the road
  • Violation of state or federal safety regulations
  • Poor maintenance of vehicle
  • Defective parts in vehicle
  • Fatigue

Drivers of any kind of vehicle are plagued with fatigue when they do not get enough rest.  In the trucking industry, hours of service are regulated to ensure that drivers get enough sleep and take breaks when needed. However, this is not always enough.

What about the quality of their sleep?  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) highlights the dangers posed to truck drivers in terms of sleep. One of these is sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing disorder that has a powerful effect on alertness during waking hours.

How poor quality sleep leads to poor quality driving

We all know that performance is affected by lack of sleep. Even seemingly minor factors like the time change from Daylight Savings can affect performance, through its effect on circadian rhythms.  Similarly, the disruption of sleep-wake cycles, through shift work or long hours of driving, interrupts those rhythms, thereby exacerbating — or even creating — conditions like sleep apnea.

For car, truck or motorcycle drivers, sleep apnea is especially serious, causing the following:

  • Impairment of judgment and reaction time
  • Reduced information-processing ability
  • Decline in physical performance and motor coordination
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease

Risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Being overweight
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Aged 40 or older

Sleep deprivation is no joke. Whether you drive a motorcycle, truck, or car, stay alert on the road. Remember, other drivers may not be — they may even be asleep at the wheel.

If you need an Oklahoma City accident attorney, or advice with another type of personal injury, contact us online at Cunningham & Mears today.