Houston, TX (PRWEB) January 30, 2009
Research continues to provide strong evidence linking Obstructive Sleep Apnea ("OSA"), the most common of sleep disorders, to dangerous health risks and fatigue-related injury and fatality accidents in the transportation industry. Alarmingly, up to 90% of OSA cases go undiagnosed. Federal Agencies have taken action. In a resolute effort to reduce drowsy driving crash injuries and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation's ("DOT") Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association ("FMCSA"), appointed a Medical Expert Panel of physicians (specialized in sleep medicine) to make professional recommendations on existing medical fitness guidelines within the transportation industry. Their 2008 report confirms that individuals with OSA are at an increased risk for a fatigue-related crash; may not be aware of the extent to which they are affected by the condition; and require screening, diagnosis and treatment of the condition to safely operate commercial motor vehicles. The Panel voted 4 to 1 for the recommendation of testing at-risk CMV drivers for sleep apnea. The FMCSA update of current medical fitness standards and guidelines, and development of new rulings, is scheduled to begin this year. AllTrans Medical Solutions ("AllTrans"), a Houston-based firm, provides specialized safety-driven solutions to manage Obstructive Sleep Apnea and its effects on the transportation industry. AllTrans is working diligently to educate transportation companies on OSA, the enormous risks it poses; and support them through its customized driver screening, diagnosis, treatment and compliance program.
Fatigue has been listed as a major factor in motor vehicle crashes. According to The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (a 2008 FMCSA study spanning three years), there are four driver-related "critical reasons" listed for large truck crashes: Non-Performance - driver falling asleep, disabled by heart attack or seizure, or physically impaired for another reason; Recognition - driver was inattentive, distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle, failed to observe the situation adequately for some other reason; Decision - driver was driving too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles, or followed other vehicles too closely; and Performance - the driver panicked, overcompensated or exercised poor directional control. OSA causes excessive sleepiness, inattentiveness, poor concentration, poor decision making, poor coordination, memory problems and indecisiveness - all contributory to each of the four critical reasons listed above.
The Health History section of the FMCSA Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination has already been revised to include, "Sleep disorders, pauses in breathing while asleep, daytime sleepiness, loud snoring" as part of its questioning. The Medical Expert Panel has recommended that the FMCSA offer incentives to companies developing fatigue management models. An effective fatigue management program includes screening, diagnosis, treatment and compliance support and is easily implemented.
Technology for the screening and treatment of OSA has improved dramatically. Wireless remote screening is now available enabling patient testing from the comfort of their own sleep environment. Treatment for OSA is easy and covered by most insurance plans. Most patients report feeling well rested in as little as 24 hours after treatment has begun. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure ("CPAP") is the most recommended form of treatment and is the preferred method of treatment according to the Medical Expert Panel.
With increasing awareness and knowledge of the dangers involved with OSA, transportation companies electing to take no action until mandated, place themselves at significant risk. Victim's rights organizations are actively lobbying. Prosecutors are aggressively advertising. Courts are assigning liability for trucking accidents to the owner of the trucking company, the owner of the tractor trailer, the truck's driver; or all three - and punitive damages are running into the millions of dollars.
Corporate fatigue management programs save lives, prevent injuries, protect assets, significantly lower operating expenses, and improve the health of commercial drivers. The benefits of a fatigue management program can be realized almost immediately upon implementation. Companies having implemented fatigue management programs in advance of government mandates will be well-positioned to easily achieve compliance accreditation.
AllTrans Medical Solutions, with over 28 years of collective experience in the medical industry, provides complete, safety-driven sleep solutions with specialization in the transportation sector. AllTrans offers state-of-the-art remote testing and treatment technology to the transportation industry with the convenience of full program implementation and support, superior compliance reporting and no down time.
AllTrans Medical Solutions