Truck Drivers Treating Sleep Apnea See Benefits

Last week we discussed the sleep apnea rules as they relate to the DOT physical and today we want to take a look at the benefits for truck drivers treating sleep apnea. 

Sleep apnea has been a hot topic in the trucking community for quite some time now and is an item of discussion during truck driver training.  As a result of the buzz regarding sleep apnea among truckers, several organizations are collecting data to show the results of treating this condition.

The May Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) had reports from a study led by Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, Chief Medical Officer of Waste Management, Inc which reported the following:

  • For treated drivers, health plan costs decreased by an average of $2,700 in the first year and another $3,100 in the second year, compared to no change for untreated drivers. The treated drivers also missed fewer work days (average 4.4 days in the first year) and had lower short-term disability costs ($528 over two years).
  • On average, treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) led to "over $6,000 in total health plan and disability cost savings per treated driver," the researchers write. Total costs decreased by 41 percent in drivers treated for OSA (compared to an eight percent decrease in untreated drivers).

In this study, the researchers used insurance claims records to evaluate the effects of OSA treatment in commercial motor vehicle drivers. Costs were compared for 156 drivers who received continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or other treatments for OSA and 92 drivers who were diagnosed with OSA but were not treated.

If you are currently in a trucking career or considering truck driver training, please take note to the information in this study regarding treatment of sleep apnea for drivers.  If you or someone you know is affected by this condition, urge them to get medical assistance to help make conditions safer for all drivers on the road.

For more information on the sleep apnea study, please view the original article from Newswise here.