Many semi-truck collisions occur because of bad decision-making or inadequate surveillance. Truck drivers can and frequently do make the same types of mistakes that those driving smaller passenger vehicles often make. Those errors can lead to severe consequences for people in a smaller vehicle.
There are other commonly reported reasons for crashes that may fall outside of a driver’s control. Issues with vehicles cause a small but noteworthy percentage of commercial vehicle collisions. Non-performance on the part of a commercial driver is also a common reason for collisions between passenger vehicles and semi-trucks. Non-performance means that a truck driver was incapable of controlling the vehicle at the time of the crash occurred. The following medical issues have a strong association with non-performance in truck drivers.
A largely sedentary lifestyle and a dependence on fast food for many meals may lead to weight gain in commercial drivers. Sleep apnea often follows obesity and affects someone’s quality of rest. Those struggling with sleep apnea may have more pronounced issues with fatigue than the average motorist and could very easily doze off at the wheel, with potentially tragic consequences.
A sedentary job combined with high-stress work conditions can put a lot of strain on someone’s heart. Cardiac issues are common in the trucking industry, and they are one of the issues that medical professionals check for during annual physicals. A sudden cardiac event could render someone unconscious or, at the very least, otherwise incapable of maintaining control over a semi-truck.
In theory, health professionals screening commercial drivers for risk factors should report neurological conditions to employers. However, it is possible for even otherwise diligent healthcare professionals to miss the early warning signs of conditions including Parkinson’s disease, especially if a driver is not forthcoming about their cognitive and physical challenges.
Commercial drivers may not have persistent symptoms and may choose not to provide thorough information about their day-to-day health because they want to continue earning money. Those decisions might then lead to a preventable collision that results in tragic consequences.
Members of the public cannot easily identify drivers in commercial vehicles with any of these health conditions. However, learning that a commercial driver has certain health issues may strengthen an injury victim’s claim for compensation after a crash involving a semi-truck. In this way, becoming familiar with collision risk factors may help members of the public better advocate for justice after a wreck.