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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Meg wins national road safety award

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line Car Insurance have awarded Meg Munn MP ‘Parliamentarian of the Year – National Campaigner’ for her determination to eradicate undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea in commercial drivers, a major cause of road crashes. This follows her being awarded only last month ‘Parliamentarian of the Month’ for this campaigning work. 

 

Meg Munn MP said:

 

“I am delighted to receive the award. Toby Tweddell was killed by a lorry driver with undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. His uncle, my constituent, Seb Schmoller; Toby’s fiancée Jenny Crisp; and other members of Toby’s family have undertaken substantial work to raise awareness and change policy. This award is a tribute to their determination to prevent other families suffering the same heartache.”

 

Cathy Keeler, deputy chief executive of Brake, said:

 

“Meg’s substantial efforts to raise awareness of the problems of undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea in commercial drivers will prevent many more lives being needlessly lost, and many more families being devastated.

 

Brake is delighted to award Meg ‘Parliamentarian of the Year – National Campaigner’ for her tireless national campaigning in Parliament and with Government. I urge everyone to support Meg in her excellent work and look forward to hearing how her campaign develops in 2010 through her work to encourage businesses to screen their drivers for sleep apnoea and offer treatment where necessary.”

 

Due to lifestyle and working conditions, truck drivers are much more susceptible to Sleep Apnoea. Sleep Apnoea sufferers are often tired during the day and are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel, lose control of their vehicle and crash. Sleep-related crashes often result in death or serious injury, as they tend to occur at high speeds, with the driver unable to take any preventative action, such as braking, before the collision. Undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea may affect nearly one in six lorry drivers and suffers are seven times more likely to crash. Up to 80,000 HGV drivers in the UK may be putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk by driving while suffering from the effects of Sleep Apnoea.

 

Meg first came across the issue when constituent Seb Schmoller contacted her, in early 2008, following the death of his nephew Toby Tweddell. Toby, 25, was killed on 8 August 2006 when a lorry ploughed into his car. The driver, Colin Wrighton, had fallen asleep at the wheel of his lorry. Following the crash, it was found that the medical profession had previously failed to diagnose him with Sleep Apnoea, an easily treatable disorder. Meg quickly realised that action needed to be taken at a national level.

 

Meg raised the subject in a Parliamentary debate, convincingly arguing that there was an urgent need for a change in regulation. She then secured a meeting with the Road Safety Minister in October 2009. Thanks to Meg’s thorough research and careful planning, the Minister was convinced of the need to act and committed to make changes to the medical examination form that commercial drivers must complete with their doctors before they can get their licence, to include checks for the symptoms of Sleep Apnoea. The Minister also promised to raise awareness of the issue among the medical profession. It is hoped that these steps will make a real impact on the detection of Sleep Apnoea in commercial drivers.

 

In 2010 Meg will continue to tackle the issue by working with business to raise awareness and encourage regular screening for commercial drivers. She is already in the process of organising a trial with a major firm to begin screening and offering treatment to their drivers. She hopes this will demonstrate the value of screening to other employers, and bring about widespread screening as an industry standard.

 

For further details visit: www.brake.org.uk

Associated Photograph :

Meg with Seb Schmoller and Jenny Crisp.

Meg with Seb Schmoller and Jenny Crisp.


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