Commercial Drivers Urged To Confront Sleep Apnoea

The condition, which is thought to cause 20 per cent of motorway accidents, needs wider recognition according to the DVLA.
Greater awareness of sleep apnoea among commercial vehicle drivers could save lives, according to the authors of a new guide to the condition.

As many as 20 per cent of motorway accidents are thought to be connected to obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) syndrome. Sufferers of the condition are prone to repeated pauses in breathing while asleep, due to obstruction of the upper airway. Individuals with OSA are rarely aware of having breathing problems, but the poor quality of sleep which OSA causes can lead to fatigue during the day.

Sleep apnoea has been linked to a number of fatal driving incidents involving commercial vehicles, including the death of a Newcastle pensioner who was hit by a bus and killed in 2011 after the driver allegedly fell asleep at the wheel. The bus driver was later diagnosed with OSA.

Professor John Stradling from the Oxford Sleep Clinic, who worked on the new guide for the DVLA and the OSA Partnership, said: “It is vital that we do not push the problem underground by making it difficult for commercial drivers to admit that they have symptoms. Therefore members of the OSA Partnership Group have worked closely with the DVLA to agree a consistent process that highlights the importance and the longer term benefits of seeking treatment quickly.”

Commercial vehicle drivers are thought to be particularly prone to the condition as it often affects middle-aged men with sedentary jobs.

Of course most commercial drivers do not suffer with this issue, and if you are looking for a new or used Ford commercial vehicle, please visit one of our many dealerships in the South West