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Trucking Industry Waking Up to Sleep Apnea
Topic Started: Feb 9 2010, 08:34 PM (2,266 Views)
SuperSleeper
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Prime Inc. Makes Identifying Sleep-Related Disorders Top Priority

(Category: Trucking)

(Springfield, Mo.) - Health care concerns are a hot topic in the news today but professional drivers face special challenges every day where health risks are concerned - a challenge that carrier Prime Inc. is answering.

"Over-the-road long haul drivers are engaged in a sedentary lifestyle and must deal with eating on the road, fragmented sleep schedules, stress, and possibly tobacco use," said Don Lacy, Prime's director of safety. "Because of those factors, drivers tend to be at higher risk for health problems, fatigue and sleep disorders."

The most common sleep issue identified in drivers is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and restless leg syndrome (RLS). If left untreated, sleep apnea can exacerbate other health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. "While professional drivers are required to be physically examined every two years, a large number of them do not have a primary care physician," Lacy said. "That is an issue we really wanted to address at Prime."

Prime Inc., headquartered in Springfield, Mo., is one of only a few carriers to voluntarily screen and offer treatment to drivers at risk or diagnosed with sleep disorders. The company is the only carrier to provide hospital quality testing and treatment where it is most convenient for drivers: the company's expansive, comfortable headquarters.

Prime is working with Sleep Pointe LLC, providers of the most comprehensive sleep apnea management program for the transportation industry, to ensure the company addresses sleep disorders and concerns as well as the risk factors that lead to them.

"Prime has taken the initiative to address these issues in a very decisive way," said John Hancock, of Prime. "Obviously safety is our primary concern, but driver health goes hand-in-hand with that so by addressing the driver health issues that adversely effect sleep, we improve both. What makes our program unique is that we do it on-site where we can get drivers tested, treated and back on the job." (4 things, screen, diagnose, treat and compliance monitoring)

Prime Inc. provides clinical health services on site, a wellness program and the sleep disorders program, which uses the standards set by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

To begin evaluating a driver, Prime conducts a sleep study, or polysomnogram, at the company's on-site hotel. This is a diagnostic sleep study that measures the quality of the person's sleep by monitoring breathing and heartbeat. A typical sleep study records brain waves, eye movement, chin muscle tone, leg movements, and oxygen level. Depending on the results of this all-night study, the driver may have other daytime tests that measure wakefulness, the ability to fall asleep and other factors.

"These evaluations and the ensuing treatments have literally changed people's lives," said Lacy. "I've had drivers tell me they can not believe how good they feel after getting treatment and, finally, truly restful sleep. Spouses of drivers have told me they are amazed at the improvement in their husband or wife. The results are obviously extremely beneficial."

According to Lacy, the sleep studies have enabled drivers to identify and seek treatment for other prevalent conditions in the industry including diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiac issues, respiratory compromises and others.

Prime's focus on making sure drivers get the rest they need to perform their jobs safely has been well worth the company's investment in developing the sleep study program. "The impact this issue has on safety for the public is immense," said Hancock. "Who knows how many lives Prime is able to save by helping our driving associates stay rested and alert? You can not measure the value of saving a life and we feel that this program, in a very real sense, enables us to do that."

fair use from:
http://www.truck.net/news/4749/109.html

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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George/PA
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Having been a professional driver for 39 years, I applaud Prime for their stand on sleep apnea. A couple of other companies have also become more in tune with fatigue problems, while the larger majority just don't give a hoot as long as their freight gets delivered.
Unfortunately, many drivers are also going to view Prime's concern as an invasion of their personal lives and either refuse to co-operate or quit and move to a company that doesn't care.
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George, looks like other companies are starting to get serious with regard to sleep apnea:


Trucking wakes up to sleep apnea

Efforts under way to address condition that adds to fatigue


Jeff Casale

Transportation risk managers and commercial drivers are grappling with the problem of sleep apnea, a condition that contributes to daytime drowsiness, as they try to find ways to improve safety on the road.

According to a 2002 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration commissioned study, out of 3.4 million licensed commercial drivers, approximately 26% of drivers suffering from some form of sleep apnea. Studies have shown that sleep apnea can severely impact driving performance by greatly increasing fatigue, boosting the risk of crashes.

Though the commercial trucking industry is aware of the prevalence of sleep apnea among drivers, there still is much to be learned in the way the condition is diagnosed, treated and monitored, experts say.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which the airway is constricted due to muscular relaxation while sleeping, with interruptions in breathing lasting several seconds at a time, often accompanied by loud snoring and resulting in nonrestful sleep.

Individuals considered at risk for sleep apnea are those with a body mass index of 30 or greater and a neck circumference of 17 inches or more, experts say, adding that such people often suffer from additional health problems related to obesity, such as diabetes and heart problems.

Many people with sleep apnea don't even know they have it, researchers say, adding that the sleep disorder often results in daytime sleepiness, which has severe effects on reflexes and cognitive and motor skills.

“I promise you there are thousands of commercial drivers out there that have some form of sleep apnea,” said Don Osterberg, vp of safety and driver training for Green Bay, Wis.-based Schneider National Inc. “Many drivers don't want to talk about it, or are in denial that they have a medical condition, or don't even know they have it. They are not educated on sleepiness, and they might think that daytime sleepiness is normal to them and they don't realize it is abnormal.”

Mr. Osterberg said at least 17% of drivers at Schneider are afflicted with severe sleep apnea. To deal with the issue, Mr. Osterberg said Schneider recently funded an initiative to help diagnose and treat their drivers as a way to help mitigate health care costs and reduce the crash risk on the road.

As a result, Mr. Osterberg said Schneider has seen a “significant reduction” in the frequency and severity of crashes.

“Making this a safety priority has paid back dividends,” he said.

Drivers who are diagnosed with sleep apnea are required by the FMCSA to be “disqualified until diagnosis of sleep apnea is ruled out or has been treated successfully.”

According to Christina Cullinan, director of workplace and fleet safety with the American Trucking Assn., a FMCSA certified medical examiner must ultimately determine whether a driver can continue driving.

If an examiner decides a driver likely suffers from sleep apnea, a sleep study will be advised, including the use of a continuous positive airway pressure—or CPAP—machine. Treatment can last anywhere between one and four weeks, depending on the condition's severity.

It should be noted the FMCSA provides no guidance on how to identify commercial drivers at risk for sleep apnea. The administration includes a question on its commercial driver medical certification form that asks specifically about sleep disorders, but it's up to medical examiners if they want the driver to go through a sleep study, or screening.

The FMCSA's medical review board made a recommendation in January 2008 that the FMCSA should require screening for sleep apnea in all drivers with a BMI more than 30, however there has been no action on that recommendation to date.

Gary Hull, who has worked for eight years as a long-haul trucker and is a member of Kansas City, Kan.-based chapter of AWAKE Truckers with a Cause, a support group for truckers with sleep apnea, said he thinks testing and treatment for sleep apnea has improved over the years, though he said putting jobs at risk because of the condition is not fair.

Mr. Hull said drivers are not always honest about health problems out of concern that they will lose their jobs. He added that there needs to be more research on the effects of sleep apnea on truck drivers and its relationship to crashes.

“We can have millions of accident-free miles, but unfortunately if it's found that you have sleep apnea or signs of it, you are shut down,” said Mr. Hull. “If they were safe to drive yesterday, why should they be disqualified today because of sleep apnea? They most likely have been living with it for years.”

Mr. Hull said there needs to be some form of standardized testing for drivers at the federal level, but said drivers want the testing—and any restrictions placed on drivers—to be “based on good science.”

Deborah Luthi, director of enterprise risk management solutions for Matheson Inc., a trucking company based in Sacramento, Calif., said motor carriers are concerned about this issue, but said Matheson does not specifically test drivers for sleep apnea outside of its driver medical screening process.

Ms. Luthi said Matheson has taken an active approach in promoting health and safety with its drivers, including fatigue abatement training to drivers and supervisors. She also said Matheson is working with its broker, Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., in the development of a training module linking driver fatigue with sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea first was classified as a sleep condition in 1965 but only recently has gotten significant attention, said Ed Grandi, executive director of Washington-based American Sleep Apnea Assn.

In May, the ASAA, FMCSA and ATA will co-host a sleep apnea and trucking conference in Baltimore. The hope, Mr. Grandi said, is to bring all parties to the table to discuss how best to address the problem.

“A loss exposure exists, and trucking companies and drivers need to recognize this,” Mr. Grandi said.

Fair use from:
http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20100221/ISSUE01/302219975



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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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another article on this issue:

Sleep Apnea: Danger on Wheels

By Courtny Gerrish

MILWAUKEE - They are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road, and they're driving 18 wheels, not four! The reason: Drowsiness. It's a factor in 100,000 reported crashes each year, involving 1,500 deaths--some that could be prevented.

Retired trucker Ron MacCudden drove for more than 40 years--much of that time with a medical condition that could have caused his death, and the deaths of countless others on the road.

"I never thought that I had a problem. I never snored, I never woke up gasping for air like some of the symptoms are," Ron recalls.

Ron was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea--after he retired. Looking back, he realizes the condition made him drowsy during the many hours he spent on the road.

"When I think of some of the symptoms I experienced when I was driving was sleepiness. I don't know any driver who drives 10 to 12 hours a day, and does not experience fatigue," Ron admits.

He's not alone. One study estimates up to half of all big rig drivers have Sleep Apnea. Deborah Reed is a Nurse Practitioner at the Sleep Wellness Institute in West Allis. She says the disease takes a toll on the body.

"When you're not breathing, your brain's sending you reminders all night long to keep breathing, because it senses that your oxygen's dropped, so you don't get a peaceful night's sleep," Reed explains.

She says a growing number of her patients are truck drivers. Once they're diagnosed, treatment is mandatory. But the problem is--many truck drivers are afraid to come forward, and aren't getting diagnosed.

"People are reluctant to talk about this because they're afraid they're gonna lose their job," Reed says.

That may soon change. There's a push to make Sleep Apnea testing mandatory for some truck and bus drivers. Green Bay-based trucking company Schneider International screens its drivers already. Don Osterberg is Senior Vice President of Safety and Driver Training for the company. He says he supports a testing law.

"It's the right thing, and you won't only feel good about the fact you stepped forward, but you're gonna feel much better once this condition is being treated," Osterberg says. He adds, "I do expect that we will see a mandate of some sort sometime in the next 2-3 years."

Treatment can be as simple as using a CPAP Mask to keep your airway open--so patients get a better night's sleep, and are more awake on the road. Ron warns, "When you're driving a vehicle weighing 80,000 pounds, it better be safe, because if you have an accident you're gonna hurt and kill a lot of people."

Now that Ron's driving on four-wheels instead of 18, he hopes every driver is getting a good night's sleep.

"If they are at risk, I definitely feel they should be tested, for their good and everybody's good--the good of the public," he says.

The Schneider Trucking official we spoke to is actually in Washington. D.C. this week talking to DOT officials about this very issue.

Sleep Apnea is also a concern for bus drivers. A Milwaukee County Transit System spokesperson says they have no specific programs for the condition, but they do have a new wellness program in place, and a new in-house nurse to address employee health concerns.

fair use from:
http://www.todaystmj4.com/features/specialassignment/85412322.html


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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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another article regarding OSA and truck drivers:

Fusion Sleep helping trucking address sleep apnea problem


A 12-month clinical trial with one of the leading trucking fleets in North America has resulted in development of a comprehensive treatment program for sleep disorders tailored to the needs of the truck drivers, according to Fusion Sleep, a provider of a comprehensive sleep medicine programs.

Previous studies have shown that approximately 70% of a trucking company's injury/fatal crash costs have been traced back to untreated sleep disorders, according to Fusion Sleep. With more than three million drivers on the road, the trucking industry has an urgent need to diagnose and treat sleep disorders in order to save lives, reduce accidents and decrease the related costs.

"As more attention is being placed on ‘dynamic’ safety rating structures, such as CSA 2010, anything fleets can do to reduce driver fatigue and improve safety ratings are key to reducing costs and maintaining a competitive advantage and should be implemented," said Mitch Poole, COO of the Reznick Group and board member of the National Accounting and Finance Council (NAFC).

“Sleep disorders are preventable and treatable diseases. Diagnosis and treatment requires in-depth testing and medical care plans which account for each individual’s symptoms and conditions,” said Dr. Jeffrey Durmer, chief medical officer of Fusion Sleep. “Additionally, achieving quality sleep can reduce or reverse additional serious health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and type II diabetes.”

Sleep apnea, or any one of over 70 sleep disorders, are very costly diseases when left untreated, causing deteriorating health and increased hospitalizations, absenteeism and lowered productivity, according to the company. By diagnosing and treating sleep apnea among its drivers, fleets have the potential to reduce their healthcare spend by nearly 50% for the affected drivers, reduce risks and increase savings in performance-related line items.

The truck drivers’ program developed by the trial combines sleep research, medicine and technology to deliver medical care for problems and conditions that impact sleep quality, quantity and daytime function, according to Fusion Sleep.

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http://fleetowner.com/management/news/fusion-sleep-trucking-address-sleep-apnea-0517/

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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ACS Introduces Sleep Apnea Reporting Service

Affiliated Computer Services, a Xerox company, has introduced a new sleep apnea reporting service to help carriers better address the problem of sleep apnea.

With ACS' new system, drivers can submit sleep data at TravelCenters of America (TA) and Petro Stopping Center locations by using the ACS TripPak Truck Stop Scanning network.

"With this service, carriers can help prevent accidents by pinpointing at-risk drivers who suffer from sleep apnea," said Kelley Walkup, division vice president and general manager for ACS. "Most fleets lack the national infrastructure to collect and evaluate the treatment information from drivers on the road, so we see considerable demand for this type of end-to-end sleep apnea compliance reporting system."

The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) recently recommended sleep apnea screening for commercial drivers.

Sleep apnea can be treated by a commonly used device called the auto-titrating positive airway pressure machine (APAP). Last year, ACS partnered with Sleep Pointe to help carriers collect and evaluate sleep apnea treatment information from APAP machines.

TA and Petro locations will phase in the sleep apnea data reporting in waves to accommodate the needs of fleets signed up for the solution. The first two fleets to implement the new solution are Prime of Springfield, Mo., and Crete Carrier Corporation of Lincoln, Neb. Eventually, all 187 TA and Petro company-operated locations will offer the complete compliance reporting service.

For more information about the service, visit www.acs-inc.com

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http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/news-detail.asp?news_id=70553&news_category_id=16
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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Confusing guidelines on sleep apnea shared frustration, says sleep doc

By DOROTHY COX
The Trucker Staff


It's not only truckers who are frustrated by the “combination of confusing guidelines” on sleep apnea testing and treatment, said a sleep doctor Monday night during a call-in discussion with truckers on the subject.

Making the comment was Dr. Rochelle Goldberg, president of the board of the American Sleep Apnea Association, the patient support organization with which the Truckers for a Cause chapter of A.W.A.K.E. is affiliated.

She said she wanted to set the record straight that currently there are only guidelines, not law, governing sleep apnea testing and treatment for truckers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is still collecting data and will come up with new guidelines by the end of the calendar year but no new measures are in place, she emphasized.

She said FMCSA recognizes there are no specifics on testing and treating sleep apnea and that the agency is planning a national registry for medical examiners with new language and they’re asking for new information, how to use sleep apnea evaluations and how to get more people tested and treated for the disorder.

“As a sleep doctor I look first at the health risk to the individual; I can’t look the other way and forget the fact that untreated sleep apnea can hurt you, your blood pressure, your heart …,” she said.

In response to a question by a trucker regarding the lack of “good solid research” linking untreated sleep apnea and crash risks, Goldberg said “it’s a fair question” and also “a shared frustration” on the lack of further data on the subject.

“Part of the frustration is that people are trying to put new regulations in place with partial information,” she said. And partial information “is not stopping that train from moving on.”

Both truckers and Goldberg urged sleep apnea sufferers who are in compliance by using their CPAP machines but who have been denied employment or fired by a carrier, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and file a complaint.

Goldberg also said truckers with grievances of that nature should get a letter-writing campaign started and get a sleep doctor to provide information that the driver is in fact getting treatment for sleep apnea and being “in compliance” by using a CPAP machine. Compliance “reduces health risks” for the driver and the industry needs to be made aware of that, she said.

She added that these problems with employment and sleep apnea are not unique to truckers but to other workers as well.

“There’s quite a broad battle” going on over it, she said. “Treatment has to be factored into employability and safety and risk factors.”

fair use from:
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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Regulators Want Truckers On Road To Shape Up

by Frank Morris

Federal regulators have announced plans to step up scrutiny of sleep apnea and other health issues affecting truckers, a move that has put them on notice to get healthy.

Truckers are more likely than average Americans to be overweight, which can lead to health problems including sleep apnea, which disrupts sleep and causes fatigue — contributing to thousands of crashes a year. No one knows for sure because the government has never required that drivers be tested.

'I've Gained 100 Pounds'

Outside the Iron Skillet restaurant on I-70 east of Kansas City — where you can get a salad, but the chicken-fried steak and eggs with gravy sure look more appealing — it appears few truckers are going hungry.

"I'm not bad. I'm 6-foot-4, but I weigh 406 pounds," says driver Jerry Mumma. "Do I need to lose weight? Oh yeah, I need to lose weight. I need to get down to about 260, 280 pounds."

Mumma's got company. Doctors writing federal transportation policy believe that up to 40 percent of professional drivers are significantly overweight.

Sitting in his truck, Marty Ellis blames the job. "Since I went to work here, I've gained 100 pounds — because you're sedentary," Ellis says. "This is your job — to sit behind this wheel."

And they sit for 10 or 11 hours a day, weeks at a time, many of them, following the work. Ellis says it's hard to arrange a checkup, harder still to park a 70-foot-long truck and trailer at the doctor's office.

"Most of us don't go to the doctor. We just, stay clear of 'em, and we just keep going," Ellis says. "A lot of owner operators out here don't have insurance."

Truckers do have to get a medical exam at least every two years to qualify for their commercial driver's license. But many have been free to choose doctors who might overlook red flags, like obesity, which can trigger sleep apnea. And that can lead to fatigue, which a federal study shows to be a factor in 13 percent of truck crashes. The American Trucking Associations says nearly a third of drivers are likely suffer from sleep apnea, but the government has never required truckers to be tested for it. Ellis says they've always dealt with it on their own.

"I mean, before it didn't really matter. As long as you could drive down the road it really didn't matter. And now the regulations are starting to say, if you don't do this or you don't do that you may not drive anymore — it's something you really, really have to think about," Ellis says.

Trucker Trainers

Dr. Maggie Gunnels, who serves on a panel that's rewriting health regulations for truckers, says the panel's job is to remove high-risk operators from the road. "It's safer for them, and it's safer for the American public who travel," Gunnels says.

The panel published proposed rule changes months ago. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will begin to formalize them soon, starting by establishing a registered pool of approved health screeners. Soon to follow: systematic screening for sleep apnea.

"So, I would say it's time to invest in your health. Hopefully many of them have started, and there are some great programs out there already for truckers," Gunnels says.

Greg McDermand, who works for a company that sells mobile sleep apnea treatment machines to truckers, encourages them to get a little bit of exercise. "We actually encourage the guys just to walk around your truck twice every day. Just get out and get some kind of exercise," McDermand says.

And the fitness industry's is getting in on it, too. In an exercise video, Bob Perry works out with heavy chains and a big tire, stuff truckers may have on hand.

"It's just now reached the tipping point. Every day we're seeing an increase of drivers who say, 'I need to lose weight,' " Perry says.

Perry is the president of Roadside Medical Clinics, a company opening clinics at truck stops.

And an organization called the St. Christopher Fund is taking health screening on the road.

Jon Osborn roams the country in campers called Medical Resource Vehicles loaded with medical diagnostic equipment. A former trucker, Osborn has lost 100 pounds in the past few years.

Osborn suggests that because truck drivers have limited room in their trucks, they keep an alloy folding bike in their cabs — the kind you might expect to see an elderly person riding — so they can get some exercise. It may be kind of a stretch to imagine that happening in the macho cap-and-cowboy-boot culture of trucking. But it's a step in the direction that more and more truckers will be taking, as they try to improve their health, before the government steps in.

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The above post may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material available is intended to advance the understanding of Sleep Apnea treatment and to advance the educational level of Sleep Apnea patients with regard to their health. Sometimes included is the full text of articles and documents rather than a simple link because outside links frequently "go bad" or change over time. This constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this post is distributed without fee or payment of any kind for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this post for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
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Woman in fatal I-44 pileup seeks rule changes

A Missouri grandmother doesn't remember the crash that killed 10 people. She is fighting for tougher restrictions on drivers so it doesn't happen again.


BY SHEILA STOGSDILL

A survivor who nearly died in the Interstate 44 crash that killed 10 people said there should be stricter rules to govern highway truck drivers.

In a report released Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board blamed fatigue for the June 26, 2009, pileup near Miami on the Will Rogers Turnpike.

A tractor-trailer rig driven by Donald Leroy Creed crashed into several other vehicles that had slowed or stopped because of an earlier accident.

The lethal combination of Creed's acute sleep loss, shift work schedule and mild sleep apnea is the reason Synthia Tate wants to see some changes with the truck driving industry.

"He (Creed) shouldn't have been on the road for 10 hours,” Tate said.

The federal board approved several recommendations, but Tate wants more restrictions, including a cap on how long a driver can be on the road. Drivers shouldn't be on the road past an eight-hour day, she said.

Tate, of Waynesville, Mo., her granddaughter, 5, and grandson, 6, were stopped when Creed's rig rolled over her Kia Spectra, trapping her and members of her family underneath the tractor-trailer.

"I don't remember the impact, but I do remember a man holding my hand, saying everything was going to be OK and for me to hold on,” Tate said.

Tate filed a lawsuit in connection with the crash. Most of the lawsuit has been settled, with the exception of the woman who initiated the crash that caused the traffic to stall.

"That woman also had fallen asleep behind the wheel,” Tate said. "Her falling asleep stopped traffic, but his (Creed) falling asleep killed people.”


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The above post may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material available is intended to advance the understanding of Sleep Apnea treatment and to advance the educational level of Sleep Apnea patients with regard to their health. Sometimes included is the full text of articles and documents rather than a simple link because outside links frequently "go bad" or change over time. This constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this post is distributed without fee or payment of any kind for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this post for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
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NTSB Issues Several Recommendations to Improve Truck Safety

24-7PressRelease/ -- The results of an investigation of a horrific trucking accident have spurred the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to recommend numerous truck safety rules. The accident, which occurred last year in Oklahoma, claimed the lives of 10 people and injured five others.

The NTSB cited driver fatigue resulting from sleep loss as the root cause of the tragedy. The truck driver, who also suffers from mild sleep apnea, likely had only five hours of sleep before beginning his workday at three in the morning. At the time of the accident he had been on the road for 10 hours.

Breakdown of the Trucking Accident

Trouble began when a minor incident caused a bottleneck of vehicles on I-44. Authorities believe that the truck driver, Donald L. Creed, was using his cruise control and traveling 69 mph in a 75 mph zone. As he approached the scene of the bottleneck, Creed failed to react. In fact, he never applied his brakes or performed any evasive maneuvers to avoid colliding with the slowed traffic.

Creed's truck crashed into the rear of a Land Rover, continued forward overriding three more vehicles, and caused a chain reaction involving crashes of two additional vehicles. Authorities determined that alcohol and drugs were not a factor.

Creed pleaded guilty to 10 counts of negligent homicide and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 10 years probation. He retired soon after the accident.

The NTSB performed an extensive investigation of the accident and determined driver fatigue to be the probable cause. The investigation found that high impact speed and the truck's structural incompatibility with passenger vehicles contributed to the accident's severity.

New and Reiterated Safety Recommendations


Based on its findings, the NTSB made nine new and six reiterated safety recommendations to both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

New Safety Recommendations:

- Develop comprehensive and updated fatigue education materials
- Require all motor carriers adopt a fatigue management program
- Require all heavy commercial vehicles to be equipped with video event recorders
- Require motor carriers to review event recorders for compliance with safety procedures
- Improve highway vehicle crash compatibility and develop standards for under-ride protection

Reiterated Safety Recommendations:

- Develop technologies to reduce fatigue-related accidents
- Develop a plan to continually assess the effectiveness of fatigue management plans implemented by motor carriers
- Implement further research on collision warning systems and require systems on new commercial vehicles if they are determined to be effective

The NTSB Chair, Deborah A.P. Hersman, explained the significance of the board's recommendations: "a fatigue management system would have helped the driver get the rest he needed to perform well behind the wheel, event recorders would have provided our investigators with the details about the crash once it occurred, and a collision warning system would have significantly reduced the likelihood that this accident could have ever happened."

Lack of Action on NTSB Recommendations

It is unfortunate that several of the NTSB's recommendations are not new. The NTSB has been frustrated by the lack of response from the federal agencies the board is urging to take action. Specifically, the NTSB recommended the implementation of collision warning systems in 2001. Such technologies could prevent an estimated 4,700 accidents annually. The safety recommendations regarding driver fatigue, which causes almost a third of all trucking accidents, have been unfulfilled for over a decade.

This problem goes far beyond the issues addressed in this investigation. For example, the FMCSA has yet to fully implement a 2002 NTSB recommendation to keep medically unfit truck and bus drivers off the road. During the time that has elapsed, unfit truck and bus drivers have caused over 800 fatal accidents.

The FMCSA is not the only federal agency slow to act on the NTSB's recommendations. From 2000 to 2010 the average amount of time federal agencies and transportation industries took to put into practice NTSB recommendations increased from a just over three years to almost five-and-a-half years. The NHTSA and the FMCSA have been taking the longest to comply with NTSB recommendations, averaging almost eight years.

Herman said the horrific accident in Oklahoma stresses the need for actions by federal regulators on the board's recommendations. She explained, "It's time to stop discussing them and make them a reality."

If more of the NTSB's recommendations are put into practice tragedies like the one that occurred in Oklahoma will hopefully not happen again.

fair use from:
http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/ntsb-issues-several-recommendations-to-improve-truck-safety-179202.php


The above post may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material available is intended to advance the understanding of Sleep Apnea treatment and to advance the educational level of Sleep Apnea patients with regard to their health. Sometimes included is the full text of articles and documents rather than a simple link because outside links frequently "go bad" or change over time. This constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this post is distributed without fee or payment of any kind for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this post for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
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