The FTA is helping to raise awareness of the problem of sleep apnoea, and how the condition can affect drivers in their day-to-day work if not treated.
Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) is a treatable condition that is particularly prevalent among haulage drivers.
However without treatment, driving with OSAS can make the chance of having a road traffic accident between 3 and 9 times more likely and increase the severity of the accident. It can also greatly reduce quality of life, lead to other health problems, and even impact on life expectancy.
Jacqui Hillhouse, Training Product Development Manager at FTA said: "FTA recognises the importance of raising awareness of any condition that could impact on driver safety. This training session focuses on sleep apnoea and can be included within Driver CPC training outlining the symptoms and treatment that HGV drivers should be aware of. FTA provides the training materials for this module free of charge, not just to our own members but to the wider population in order to make as many drivers as possible aware of the implications of untreated OSA."
FTA worked with the OSA Partnership Group to develop a training session that had an impact on drivers, as well as one that provides flexibility; lasting approximately an hour and a half the presentation materials have been designed to fit into any Driver CPC training module.
Professor John Stradling from the OSA Partnership Group, has spent his career working with sleep apnoea patients as a respiratory consultant in Oxford. He said:
“It is essential that we make drivers aware of the symptoms of sleep apnoea. It is a condition that can be very easily diagnosed and treated, and following this patients are able to lead normal lives. It is especially significant for HGV drivers as successful treatment will enable them to drive as safely as anyone without OSA.
“We hope that the programme that we have developed with the FTA will allow drivers to recognise OSAS in themselves or others and to act upon this knowledge to seek treatment, and in doing so to improve dramatically the quality of their lives.”