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Time For the Trucking and Heavy Machinery Industries to Wake Up!
Date:9/5/2007

Commentary Advocates Widespread Screening of Truck Drivers for Obstructive

Sleep Apnea Advanced Brain Monitoring's Apnea Risk Evaluation System (ARES(TM)) Proven to Help Companies Increase Employee Productivity; Minimize Litigation Risks

CARLSBAD, Calif., Sept. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- For decades, one main safety issue that transportation company executives had to manage was the number of hours a driver spent behind the wheel. After laws were enacted in 2004 mandating that truckers have at least 10 hours of consecutive off-duty time before they qualify for a new work period, it was presumed that these sleep breaks would result in awake and alert drivers. But in recent years, sedentary lifestyle and increased obesity in this workforce has contributed to a growing epidemic of chronic drowsiness and fatigue.

In a recent study published in Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy (April - May 2007), the authors found that as many as 50 percent of transportation workers studied had undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially life-threatening breathing-related sleep disorder that often goes undiagnosed and untreated. The study findings were accompanied by a second article that analyzed the legal ramification of OSA in the transportation industry. The legal article emphasizes the responsibility drivers now have to ensure they are fit for duty to be socially responsible, avoid tort liability, and possibly even jail time, if they cause an accident. It also identifies steps that employers and clinicians can take to reduce the likelihood of paying punitive damages if a driver has an accident due to OSA.

"Parties in the trucking industry have not paid sufficient attention to the risk of undiagnosed OSA," stated Donald L. Carper, a professor emeritus in the College of Business at California State University, Sacramento and co-author of the study. "Drivers, their employers and clinicians all have potential legal exposure resulti
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SOURCE Advanced Brain Monitoring, Inc.
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