Thursday, February 15, 2018

About the Seminar

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disease in which the patient’s airway closes repeatedly during sleep, causing the brain to partially awaken to resume breathing. Although the individual is normally unaware of this process, OSA prevents restful sleep, which in turn affects the person's ability to maintain the type of alert attention required in driving.

It is well established that untreated OSA is associated with higher crash risk in the general driving population, but relevant data about commercial drivers is scarce. This presentation offered a description and statistical analysis of the first-ever employer-mandated program for diagnosing and treating OSA among drivers at a large motor carrier.

Using objective data on treatment success, the analysis found a large and statistically significant association between non-adherence with OSA treatment and preventable tractor-trailer crashes. Although the USDOT withdrew an exploratory rulemaking on OSA screening for truck drivers and train engineers in 2017, the evidence presented suggested why this issue is likely to remain of continuing managerial and public policy concern.


About the Speaker

Stephen Burks

Stephen Burks is a professor of economics and management at the University of Minnesota Morris. His work focuses on two main research areas: experimental and behavioral personnel economics and the economics of the U.S. trucking industry. Burks is affiliated with the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, the Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics at the University of Nottingham, UK, and the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.