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New Jersey lawmakers seek mandatory testing for sleep apnea

Lack of sleep and other issues have been determined to be at least part of the cause of crashes involving trucks here in New Jersey. That includes the tragic crash that seriously injured comedian Tracey Morgan and killed his close friend.

Nonetheless, the Trump administration has elected not to pursue a rule previously proposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT sought to require testing for sleep apnea in truckers and other mass transit operators .

However, U.S. senators in New Jersey and New York introduced legislation to require operators of trucks and trains get tested regularly for sleep apnea and get treated if necessary. New Jersey Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, along with New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, sponsored the bill. Similar legislation is also sponsored by two New Jersey lawmakers in the House of Representatives .

The proposed legislation follows a crash of a New Jersey Transit train into Hoboken Terminal approximately a year ago. According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) following their investigation of the crash, the engineer reportedly suffered from sleep apnea. However, he had not been tested for it since 2015, despite having undergone a physical exam the following year. He told investigators that he had no memory of the crash.

Sen. Booker said, "We simply cannot stand idly by and wait for the next tragic incident." Sen. Menendez added, "I'm disappointed that the administration chose to put the traveling public at risk by ignoring the threat sleep apnea poses."

Victims of truck crashes can suffer severe and often-fatal injuries. Victims and surviving loved ones may explore their rights to compensation through civil lawsuits. Settlements or awards from the court can help cover the costs of medical treatment, lost wages and other damages. An experienced New Jersey truck accident attorney can determine what entities and individuals can be held legally responsible.

Source: NJ.com, "Booker seeks testing for sleep apnea after NJ Transit crash," Larry Higgs and Jonathan D. Salant, Sep. 28, 2017

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