Sleep Apnea Legislation Could Affect Roadway Safety in New Mexico and Nationwide

file000564506187 morguefile username kconnors.jpgIn late September, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that would require the nation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to follow the agency’s full rule-making procedure when addressing sleep apnea in big rig drivers. The bipartisan bill, H.R. 3095, was introduced a few weeks earlier by more than 60 co-sponsors and passed the House unanimously. Companion legislation is now currently before the U.S. Senate.

If it becomes law, the bill would not require the FMCSA to issue any sleep apnea rules. Instead, it would prohibit the agency from simply furnishing informal guidance regarding the apparently growing safety issue. In addition, the agency would be required to consider the most cost effective screening and treatment options available when issuing any sleep apnea-related trucking rules.

Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time during the night. Some people who suffer from the disorder stop breathing as many as 400 times overnight. If untreated, the sleep disorder can have serious and life threatening consequences such as heart disease, stroke, depression, and an increased number of truck collisions. Additionally, some truck drivers may fall asleep while behind the wheel. Data from the FMCSA claims more than one-fourth of tractor-trailer and other commercial drivers likely suffer from the disorder.

In general, federal trucking regulations are designed to protect drivers and passengers traveling on the roadways in New Mexico and across the nation from preventable safety hazards. Personal injury lawsuits filed after an accident with a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle are normally different than simple traffic wrecks as they often involve unique evidence. For example, federal law requires semi drivers to document the amount of time they spend driving each day. In addition, on-board computers and other technology may also provide crash investigators with data regarding the events that led up to a truck accident.

A person who was hurt in a New Mexico semi-truck wreck may be eligible to receive damages for their pain, suffering, lost benefits and pay, any resulting permanent or temporary disability, and related medical expenses. Certain family members of someone who was killed in a wreck with a big rig may also be entitled to recover the costs associated with their loved one’s funeral and other damages. If you were injured by the actions of a negligent big rig driver, you are advised to speak with a quality attorney as soon as possible.

Do not hesitate to contact the Fine Law Firm if you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a New Mexico semi-truck crash. Our hardworking Albuquerque truck accident lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience assisting tractor-trailer accident victims across the State of New Mexico recover the damages they deserve. To schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with a committed advocate, please call the Fine Law Firm at (505) 889-3463 or contact us through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Case Demonstrates Negligent Truckers Can Hurt Anyone in New Mexico and Across U.S., New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, September 18, 2013
Drunk or High Truck Drivers Pose a Hazard on Roadways in New Mexico and Elsewhere, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, September 13, 2013
Additional Resources:

House overwhelmingly passes bill on sleep-apnea regs, by David Cullen, Fleet Owner

Photo credit: kconnors, morgueFile