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Supreme Court paves way for sleep apnea regulations

Louisiana truck drivers might be likelier to face new regulations about sleep apnea following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court declined to hear a case in which a truck driver claimed that his employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by asking him to get tested for sleep apnea.

In the case, the driver had a body mass index of more than 35, which prompted his carrier to ask him to get tested for sleep apnea. He presented a letter from his doctor that stated the testing was unnecessary. When he refused the testing, his carrier fired him. The court's decision not to hear the case allows the lower court's ruling to stand. In that ruling, the lower court found that testing does not violate the ADA.

There is a proposed regulation that may require companies to ground drivers who have sleep apnea until they successfully treat it. The rule is intended to prevent accidents caused by drivers falling asleep behind the wheels of their trucks because of the fatigue that can be caused by the condition. An increasing number of carriers are also requiring their drivers to be tested for sleep apnea because of the risks it poses to others.

Truck driver fatigue may endanger occupants of other vehicles that are in the vicinity. People who are struck by fatigued truck drivers may be killed or seriously injured. The injured victims or the families of people who are killed in truck accidents that resulted from sleep deprivation might want to meet with a personal injury attorney in order to learn how they can seek financial compensation for the losses that they have sustained.

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