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Despite personal injury risk, proposed sleep apnea test rescinded

Given the number of large commercial trucks that are on the road in Louisiana and throughout the nation, there are frequent concerns as to how the competence and medical history of the drivers are regulated. If, for example, the driver has a history of recklessness or health problems, this can be a factor in an auto accident that leads to personal injury and death. If the company has a history of lack of oversight, that too can be considered important during the crash reconstruction to determine what happened and help the victims to proceed. Recent decisions by the government are also integral to a possible legal case after a truck accident.

The presidential administration of Donald J. Trump has pulled back from a proposal that a requirement be put in place for truck companies and railroads to give workers a test to determine if they have obstructive sleep apnea. This issue was believed to have been a cause of a train accident in New Jersey in 2016. The two agencies that oversee these industries -- the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) -- stated that they believe such screening is wise for employees who are working in roles for which safety is paramount, but it will not be required.

Those with sleep apnea experience poorer sleep and might be fatigued and drowsy during the day. The National Institutes of Health states that this condition is frequently undiagnosed. People who suffer from it can have attention deficits, lose concentration, lack in awareness, and have problems with memory. This can lead to dangerous circumstances. Those with sleep apnea who are working in jobs where it is important to be at full attention, concentrate, be aware and remember various procedures could place others at risk.

Since trucks are so large and travel at such high speeds and trains also travel rapidly and carry passengers, it is imperative that the operators are competent and healthy enough to be safe. With sleep apnea, there can be an accident with significant aftereffects such as hospital stays, surgical procedures, lost wages and more. If there is a death, that can negatively affect a family personally, emotionally and financially. With car accidents, it is imperative to have legal help to investigate the accident, determine its cause and pursue compensation through litigation if necessary.

Source: USA Today, "Trump nixes sleep testing proposal for truckers, train engineers," Curtis Tate, Aug. 5, 2017

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