Train drivers from the US need to get tested for sleep apnea after this disorder was blamed for a train crash. The transit regulators will release a safety advisory to make the drivers get tested before anything like this happens again. They are releasing this advisory in order to show the importance of tests and treatments for this sleep disorder.
The Federal Railroad Administration mentioned that drivers should not wait any longer because they put the lives of others in danger if they don’t get tested and treated. People should get tested no matter if the regulators issue this advisory or not. They need to do it quick because the whole process could take a lot of time.
This advisory comes after a transit engineer crashed the train he was driving. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea more than a month after the crash. The crash happened on September 29th. In the crash, almost 100 people were hurt and one woman died.
The train engineer mentioned that he was rested and that he had no memory of the crash, just that he woke up on the floor. The crash came after he passed all of his physical tests months ago. He did not know about this condition and he mentioned that he did not realize that he had a problem.
Metro-North in the NYC suburbs is the railroad that tested their engineers. They found that more than 1 out of 9 individuals suffers from sleep apnea. The train drivers shouldn’t be allowed to drive if they have this type of disorder and they don’t treat it.
Airplane pilots are not allowed to fly if they have this disorder and they don’t treat it. Only after they are completely treated they can come back to work. This should happen to the train drivers as well in order for people to be safe when they are taking the public transportation.
This is not the first time that sleep apnea has caused a crash. In 2011 there was a train crash in Iowa and in 2013 another one happened in Missouri . Both of them were attributed to this sleep condition. In 2013 in NYC a train driver crashed the vehicle and killed 4 people. This time the sleep apnea remained undiagnosed, despite the fact that he fell asleep while driving.
Image source: Wikipedia