Columbia, MD asked in Car Accidents for Maryland

Q: What is the specific code or law applying to driving with the condition of sleep apnea?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Eric Todd Kirk
Eric Todd Kirk
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: It's difficult to fully answer this question without some additional context. Obviously driving while experiencing an episode of sleep apnea would not seem possible. Falling asleep at the wheel is not necessarily criminal or negligent, but could be. For example if someone suffered from sleep apnea to the extent that it made it is impossible for them to sleep soundly at any time and they were in a constant state of drowsiness and mental fog, yet nevertheless knowingly chose to operate a motor vehicle, fell asleep, and caused an accident, it could certainly be argued that individual was negligent in choosing to get behind the wheel. There would be no specific code provision applying to this but rather general negligence principles.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Wyomissing, PA
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: No section.

However, as Mr. Kirk notes, it could be careless if the person knew it. More to the point the person if they cause a crash are going to be liable based on the rules of the road. If a person with apnea hits someone generally it will be their fault, but not due to the apnea but due to them violating a rule.

If what you mean is is this a way of avoiding a citation, no.

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