Study: Drivers with untreated sleep apnea at much greater risk for crashes

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Drowsy drivers could be putting you at risk on the road.

A new study looked at what happened when truck drivers who have sleep apnea do not follow treatment.

The journal Sleep says drivers with sleep apnea, who don’t wear the breathing mask, have a five times greater risk of having a serious, preventable crash.

Trucking companies often require drivers to be tested. Doctors often prescribe special masks with pressurized air to keep patients’ airways free.

Scientists at several universities tracked this. They compared truckers with apnea to those without, focusing on two factors — drivers’ experience at the time they were hired, and job tenure.

Many of those involved in crashes either quit or lost their jobs.

Current regulations allow drivers to go work for another company without disclosing their history with sleep apnea. Researchers say truck drivers should go through regular screening for sleep apnea and that treatments should be required.

MORE | See the study here.

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