Drivers with undiagnosed sleeping conditions pose a greater risk to road users than being a drunk driver.
That’s the message the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the RAC want to get across in a renewed push to address Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS for short, or OSA for shorter), particularly among professional drivers.
Almost two years ago now, we highlighted how the OSA Partnership wanted HGV drivers to receive swift treatment if they were diagnosed with the condition.
The concern was – and still is – that people are reluctant to see their GP because they fear losing their livelihoods.
Typically, OSA makes sufferers feel drowsier than others during the daytime, meaning they can quickly lose concentration.
The condition can be very easily treated, but not doing anything about it can result in falling asleep at the wheel, with obviously grave consequences.
This is bad enough for car drivers, but if your job is to control a 40-tonne lorry then the outcome can be appalling.
But two years on, it seems little has been achieved, resulting in the latest call for action.
The appeal for a fast-track system, whereby lorry drivers are diagnosed and treated within four weeks, follows a survey from the IAM that found motorists are growing increasingly concerned about distracted drivers, with attention rightly focused on mobile phone use.
But distractions are all about a lack of concentration – and feeling so tired you just want to curl up in your footwell for a nice long snooze indicates your concentration has taken a holiday and something needs to be done.
The DVLA says it must be informed if you have OSA and you can be fined £1,000 if you fail to let it know about a medical condition that affects your driving.
Not all people with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea will have to stop driving, but the DVLA will need to consider what happens next.
And with treatment readily available, albeit not as swiftly as many would like, that’s got to be better than the alternative.
If you have committed a motoring offence due to an undisclosed medical condition contact our specialist motoring solicitors for advice on 0800 046 3066