Occupational Medicine Expert Witness On Driver Fatigue

Highway accidentOccupational medicine expert witness Dr. Kales co-authored a study on the crash risk for truck drivers with obstructive sleep apneaThe study found that driver fatigue is a leading factor in large truck crashes. Dr. Kales is a leader in the field of occupational sleep medicine and was among the first occupational medicine directors to institute an objective OSA screening protocol for commercial drivers. He is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School Harvard School of Public Health and Chief of Occupational Medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance.

Nearly 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year.  USDOT Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx states:

As part of our mission to improve highway safety, our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is charged with regulating the number of hours truck drivers may operate to ensure that they are not driving while fatigued. …

Additionally, new research available on the subject demonstrated that long work hours, without sufficient recovery time, lead to reduced sleep and chronic fatigue. That fatigue leads drivers to have slower reaction times and a reduced ability to assess situations quickly.  One of the most dangerous elements of fatigue is how quickly it can sneak up on vehicle operators, be they car drivers or truck drivers.  The research revealed that truck drivers (like most people) often can’t assess their own fatigue levels accurately and are therefore unaware that their performance has degraded.  Too often, fatigued drivers fail to notice that they are drifting between lanes.

About Karen Olson

Information Professional with twenty years experience in legal, public record, and business research. Fifteen years law firm experience.

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