Many commercial truck drivers and railroad workers in Georgia and around the nation suffer from sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder that causes frequent interruptions in breathing while people are sleeping. These interruptions can leave the sufferers feeling fatigued during their waking hours. Because of this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration have proposed a new rule that would mandate that truck drivers get tested for the condition.
The two agencies opened the proposed regulation for public comment and have received hundreds of comments representing both praise for the idea as well as strong opposition to it. Some truck drivers have pointed out that the test costs up to $4,000, and most insurance companies refuse to cover the test for sleep apnea.
Other opponents have pointed to the fact that the agencies do not have good data demonstrating a link between sleep apnea and crashes caused by drowsy driving. Proponents of the rule pointed to the fact that pilots are required to get tested for sleep apnea even though they can place their planes on autopilot for hours of commercial flights. They indicate that truck drivers must pay attention constantly and have an even greater need for such testing.
Fatigued truck drivers on Georgia highways can cause accidents if their reaction times are slow as a result of their condition. People in other vehicles who are in big rig accidents caused by a drowsy truck driver often suffer catastrophic injuries that could require months of medical care and treatment. Those who have been injured in such an accident may want to have legal assistance in seeking compensation for their losses.