Professional drivers who have obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) must receive the medical treatment they need quicker.
Launched by the OSA Partnership Group, a new campaign is being backed by the RAC. It points out that poor-sleep syndrome is no respecter of driving skill or experience, even among those who drive for a living.
The groups want the Department of Health to issue guidance that will result in sufferers receiving the treatment they need to enable them to drive again within four weeks of their first referral.
Research has shown that those who drive with OSAS - a condition particularly prevalent among overweight middle-aged men - are up to nine times more likely to have an accident than other motorists.
Jenny Powley, corporate sales director for RAC Business, says: "This is an incredibly important initiative as OSAS is a condition which has no respect for the great skill and experience of the drivers it can affect.
"Although we know HGV drivers, on average, complete many miles every year without incident, if they do have an accident it can often be much more damaging than a smaller vehicle such as a car, due its size and bulk."
Professor John Stradling, a member of the OSA Partnership Group, says while professional drivers are often the safest on the roads, those who have the syndrome simply cannot control their sleepiness.
He says sufferers are often reluctant to seek help as they fear losing their licences and livelihoods. It is hoped speeding up the treatment will encourage more people to come forward.
Copyright Press Association 2015