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Truck Driver Fatigue and the Sleep Apnea Deception



The Great Trucking Deception

Truck driver fatigue is always being taunted as a major problem.  The NTSB, the FMCSA and the American Trucking Association are all behind the implementation of a new bill that will require truck drivers to undergo testing for a medical condition known as sleep apnea.

Media reports are stating that about 30% of all truck drivers have sleep apnea.  Furthermore, it has been reported that the condition affects between 6% to 12% of the adult male population.

Truth About Trucking “LIVE” talk radio discussed the real truth behind truck driver fatigue and the sleep apnea deception on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010.

We had the reports . . . we had the data . . . we had the numbers.

“Sleep Apnea-A smoke Screen for Many Truck Driver Fatigue Issues”

When one study did not provide the data that they were looking for, then they conducted more studies until the data met their agenda.

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that needs to be treated and the truck driver population needs to be made aware, but the real problem of truck driver fatigue lies with the lifestyle of the professional trucker and how the motor carriers contribute to this problem.  (See our previous post: Motor Carriers Responsible for Truck Driver Fatigue).

Continually pushing the issue of sleep apnea as the major cause of driver fatigue is taking the focus off of the real problem : pushing drivers to their limit, disturbing drivers while they are trying to sleep, forced dispatch, and waiting at loading docks for hours. Sleep apnea needs to be taken seriously and those who have it should take steps in its treatment.  But ignoring the MAJOR causes and then saying that 30% of truck drivers have this condition is just not the case, when independent studies have shown a lower percent.

Furthermore, if the studies conducted do not present the figures that you were hoping for, performing more studies until you reach the wanted figures only minimize the findings.

Listen to the show and you decide . . .

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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10 Responses to Truck Driver Fatigue and the Sleep Apnea Deception. - Post a Comment

  1. Christie

    Who is going to be responsible for the cost of the sleep study, these are expensive tests. The companies aren’t going to, most drivers can’t afford to, (especially if it’s not medically recommended) and we should realize the gov’t isn’t going to? How are the determining the need for this test, or will everyone have to have one?!

    Ugh! What’s next, or do I even want to know!?

  2. Truck Leasing Guy

    Statistics are statistics…It seems like any data can be manipulated in order to help support any agenda that someone has. The worst part is, most people won’t even take the time to look it up on their own to see how correct or incorrect the info is.

  3. Allen Smith

    We still have not found the study that the caller on the show suggested, stating that 30% of ALL truckers have Sleep Apnea.

    We have emailed him directly and have continued to search for this study. We can’t find it.

    If someone knows where it is located please send the link for ALL to review for themselves. We also will review the data and experimental design of the study.

  4. Allen Smith

    Bob Stanton, the caller who called into the show finally did respond with an apology email and sent links to various articles which he believed would support the fact that many drivers have sleep apnea.
    Unfortunately, the links do not support the 30% figure that the FMSCA and ATA are talking about. We’ll be making a post about it shortly.

  5. Robert Jenkins

    There are some really simple alternative treatments that doctors could prescribe that would eliminate the need for a CPAP. For example, any activity that strengthens the muscles in the throat helps apnea considerably.

  6. Pyle

    If sleep apnea is running that high in truck drivers, I wonder just how many drivers of personal vehicles, cab, limo’s, police cars, firetrucks, electrical linesmans, nurses, doctors, x-ray tech’s, and the countless MILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT EVEN IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY, RUNNING THE ROADS EVERYDAY WITH CARS, THAT HAVE THIS????? WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO BE TESTED AND TAKEN FROM BEHIND THE WHELL??????

    • Allen Smith

      EXACTLY! As with everything else, it’s a smoke screen for other hidden agendas.

  7. JWhite

    Is there nothing we can do? Isnt this considered invasive testing by ADA? Furthermore, I am a female driver. Our mandatory test is being conducted at the terminal, ok, real world, the “terminal” is 98% male, “the Boy’s Club” basically, but I am being told I must go there, get in bed, with a video camera on me, creepy-ass wires on my head, and I must go to sleep. That is just plain wrong on so many levels. just because I am a driver does not mean I have no more value to the human race than a piece of livestock or a cd player, that someone else can make me do whatever the crap they like. What happened to respecting personal boundaries. btw, my csa score is ZERO.

  8. mark cosby

    what a country sounds like a perfect test environment.and just cause you are a girl you want spec get in line only transsexuals will get spec. environments like there own restroom at your expense.I’m going to refuse testing stand firm,get a attorney a quack doc and sue for disability.If that don’t work I will start a criminal enterprise… what the heck the day I got my CDL I was seen as a outlaw.

  9. Kevin

    From the very first time I heard about this , I knew it was all a lie . I spent 11 years in the medical field as a EMT-D and a ER Trauma tech . in all of those years, I have only known one person who had real sleep apnea . You would think with 11 years in the field ,if 30% of all males had it , I would have seen alot more cases. What people need to know is this , just because you may snore , IT DOES NOT PUT YOU AT RISK NOR DOES IT MEAN YOU HAVE SLEEP APNEA .Take a few minutes and read , learn why people snore . If you have noticed , there has been a recent rash of ads for cpap units and testing services for Sleep Apnea . The testing is a money maker and so is the sale of these units ,and alot of truck drivers are falling for this lie .
    When will people understand that this industry is being distroyed by the very same things that has this country in the mess that it is in .GREED AND THE DESIRE FOR CHEAP LABOR .CSA2010 is a joke and NO ONE AT ALL IS FIGHTING IT I WILL SAY THIS AGAIN NO ONE IS FIGHTING IT .DAC IS A JOKE AND AGAIN NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING TO GET RID OF IT .
    There is no reason for the use of DAC and there is no reason for CSA2010 excpet federal and state revenue . It also only makes it easier for the trucking companies to force out more experienced and higher paid drivers . Ever wonder why these big companies are not screaming bloody murder about DAC and CSA 2010 ?????? they are all for it. Has anyone stopped to think about how csa 2010 and the new Mexican aggrement came to be so close together ????
    There is also no reason for the companies to have to go back 10 years on your job history , 10 years come on give me a break.All of these “requirements for a driving job are just insane . If you have experience and a decent MVR that should be the only thing needed. Truck drivers should be some of the most highest pay people there is .We are away from home for sometimes months at a time and, not by choice . We put up with some of the most dangerous 4 wheel drivers in the world . We have to take these trucks into places that were not made for trucks and we are expected to get the load delivered . we are treated like dirt . We are running out of safe places to park , truck stops are starting to charge to park ,truck stops rip us off on EVERYTHING !!!!. I have been saying this ever since I started in this industry , we deliver life , we deliver everything that everyone in this country needs to live . There is only one way ,and one way only to get the respect , the pay and things we should have . STOP THESE TRUCKS !!!!!!!!!!! SHUT IT DOWN !!!!!!!!!!!!all of these so called trucking advocates should be calling for the shut down of the trucks ALL OF ADVOCATES,but they are not going to do it , all they are telling us is to comply . Compliance to these rules and regs is doing nothing but send us further and further into starvation .Most truck drivers , especially the new guys are nothing but SHEEP. They do what they are told and thats it . Right or wrong , just do what we tell you , DELIVER THAT LOAD . I am fighting to get out of the company I am in . I can barley take care of my wife and daughter . its not easy to be stuck in a company, that starves you and you cant get out because one person decided they did not like you and trashed your DAC . Anyone who thinks you can clean up your DAC is just dreaming . CSA 2010 is going to take this industry so far down it will never recover , there is nothing NOTHING good about CSA 2010.Truck driver shortage ????? there is no driver shortage , there is a shortage of drivers who will not work for slave wages,drive poor equipment and slave treatment.There are thousands of drivers out here looking for a company that is going to do the right thing but they have been distroyed by DAC and now CSA 2010 . Stop trying to get us to comply and start helping us band together and SHUT IT DOWN .

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