As you may have read in my previous comments dated April 19th, I mentioned a study that was conducted with commercial truck drivers that showed how a vast majority them meet criteria for having sleep apnea.
On May 21st 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing where they released the findings of a January 08, 2008 bus crash that occurred on a remote rural highway in Utah. The crash killed 9 passengers and injured 43 others who were coming home from a ski trip.
The investigation discovered that the driver was suffering from sleep apnea and was especially fatigued because he could NOT tolerate the CPAP machine that was prescribed to him. The accident occurred when the driver made a wrong turn while being sleepy, and lost control due tohis reaction time being affected by the lack of sleep. This sad story concluded with the comments from the NTSB and other federal authorities suggesting that perhaps in the future drivers should be screened for sleep apnea. It appears that as more incidents like this are being reported the public is demanding rules and regulations be put into place to prevent this accidents from occurring in the future.
CPAP machine intolerance is a major reason why most people do not use their CPAP machine. Just like this case, there are a lot of folks who are prescribed a CPAP machine and either do not use it or only use it sometimes. There are several reasons why people do not use their CPAP machine. For some people it can be the noise of the machine, the hassle with the masks and hoses, or the simple fact that it is uncomfortable. Many studies now show that compliance with using a CPAP machine is below 50% and as you have read here, this can pose dangers not only to the patient but those they come in contact with.
If you know of anyone who is having trouble with managing their sleep apnea please help them learn about this site and the alternatives to the CPAP machine that our office offers.