Drowsy driving is a serious problem. We have talked many times about the dangers to patients with sleep apnea that may fall asleep while driving. When you hear about accidents where the driver simply runs off the road for no obvious reason you need to consider that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. This type of accident occurs not only with car drivers but with commercial drivers as well.
The Lung Disease Center of Central Pa. continues to petition legislators in Pennsylvania, as well as nationally, to require sleep testing for commercial drivers. This type of testing would not only improve safety on the road, but reduce the cost of insurance for trucking firms. Drivers would not be prevented from driving, as long as they used their CPAP therapy, which can be monitored anywhere in the US via satellite.Drowsy driving is involved in 6% of all highway accidents with fatalities occurring in 21% of the cases and serious injury in 13%. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is calling for more research that better defines indicators of drowsy driving, identifies the threshold at which sleepiness while driving becomes dangerous, and provides the public with simple methods to determine when they are too sleepy to drive.
Throughout 2016 the Lung Disease Center will be talking to all parties involved in this issue, including legislators – both state and national, the insurance industry, law enforcement, trucking firms, and drivers’ unions hoping to develop a coalition to keep our roads safe for all. Check out my new blog “Rantz” on this website.