Moreover, sleep apnea largely impacts sleep quality and is the main cause of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Excessive daytime sleepiness is one of the major contributors to Road Traffic Accidents (RTA). Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a prevalent condition that leads to impaired cognitive functioning and excessive sleepiness, both leading to impaired driving ability. OSA is often associated with an increased risk of severe traffic accidents.
How Sleep Apnea affects Driving?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Drivers
Can a Driver Still Drive after being diagnosed with Sleep Apnea?
Why should Drivers take Sleep Apnea seriously?
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Cost of Accidents and Personal Accidents Due to Sleep Apnea
Out of these accidents, about 29% are caused by drowsy driving, causing 1090 injuries and 6400 deaths every year. Several studies and research studies have linked drowsiness, fatigue, and daytime sleepiness with motor vehicle accidents. Since EDS and drowsiness are common in patients with OSA, vehicle drivers with symptoms of OSA have higher rates of motor vehicle accidents.
With an increased risk of road accidents, the cost of the vehicle and personal insurance premium also increases along with the cost of handling accident-related costs. This would include vehicle repair cost, medical expenses to treat an injury, repair cost of damaged property, and cost of lost wages. According to an estimate, an average motor vehicle accident would cost:
In addition, if the person with sleep apnea is a driver, the risk of accidents is increased, which means that the employer will have to bear additional costs of repair, medical expenses, and damages.
The danger of untreated or undiagnosed sleep apnea in the transportation industry increases as trailers, trucks, trains, and airplanes have a higher risk of public safety than passenger vehicles. Accidents involving these vehicles can be more tragic and costly for individuals as well as employers. Consequently, the average cost for accidents involving such vehicles will be extremely high.
According to a report by FMCSA, small-to-mid-sized trucking companies can save up to $19 million every year by diagnosing and treating the drivers for sleep apnea. Hence, it is important for employers to screen drivers for obstructive sleep apnea and take necessary actions wherever needed.
Sleep Apnea and Insurance Cost
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