President Trump has been promising to “drain the swamp” and cut down on regulations, but could he be inadvertently causing train accidents in the process?
As part of his promise to eliminate two federal regulations for every one that is added, Trump has ordered the cancellation of a plan to require mandatory sleep apnea testing for truck drivers and railroad engineers.
However, incidents like this morning’s high-speed train collision near Philadelphia have experts concerned cutting federal regulations may have deadly consequences.
What is Sleep Apnea, and how can it cause Train Accidents?
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep.
As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Basically, sleep apnea creates exhausted drivers, and exhausted drivers may cause train accidents.
— Dr. Michael Grandner (@michaelgrandner) August 21, 2017
The Regulation in Question
In late 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a safety advisory urging railroads to begin testing for sleep apnea while new rules made their way through the regulatory process. The FRA needed regulations in place (which would have needed approval from Congress) in order to cite railroads or trucking companies if a train or truck crashed because the operator “fell asleep at the wheel.”
As previously mentioned, sleep apnea is very dangerous for the transportation industry because sufferers are constantly awakened as their airway closes and breathing stops, leading to treacherous daytime drowsiness. Treatments for sleep apnea include wearing a pressurized breathing mask, nasal strips, or oral appliances to force the airway open while sleeping. Some severe cases even require surgery.
Contact Shamieh Law
With 18 percent of train engineers testing positive for sleep apnea, and an average passenger train at rush hour carrying 1,000 passengers, the risk for catastrophic collisions is very real. For now, most companies plan to continue sleep apnea testing without a regulation to force their hands, but there is no guarantee that will continue, and could lead to very murky legal waters in the event of a train accident.
If you or someone you love have been injured in a train accident, call an experienced attorney to thoroughly investigate your case, determine the liable party, and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 214-888-3333 to schedule a consultation.