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Sleep apnea, driver fatigue, and commercial vehicle accidents

Truckers and other commercial vehicle operations have a heavy burden to carry. In addition to carrying out their job duties, these individuals must ensure that they drive their vehicles in a manner not only to ensure the safety of their cargo, but also the safety of themselves and others on the road. This might sound easy enough, but there are many aspects to commercial vehicle safety. Licensure, vehicle maintenance, and adherence to regulations related to hours of operation are all necessary to protect motorist safety. When there is a lapse in one of these areas, a serious commercial vehicle accident may occur causing significant damages to unsuspecting victims.

Although many of these accidents are caused by obvious acts of negligence, other times they are caused by acts or omissions that may not be so clearly defined as negligence. For example, truckers may be able drive despite having sleep apnea if they can show that they have been effectively treated by a medical professional. Sleep apnea is a medical condition where breathing is interrupted in sleep. As these interruptions can occur as many as 400 times a night, causing an individual to wake up each time, it can lead to excessive fatigue, thereby increasing the risk of an accident.

So what happens if an individual is injured by a trucker suffering from a medical condition like sleep apnea? He or she should investigate to determine whether the commercial vehicle operator was medically cleared to drive. This may mean digging through medical evidence and questioning medical professionals.

This is a task where the assistance of a legal professional may prove helpful. Documents and witnesses may be subpoenaed, giving a victim access to the critical information he or she needs to proceed with a personal injury claim. Those who want to learn more about how best to approach their situation can discuss the matter with a qualified legal professional.

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