Changes in Federal Requirements for Truckers with Sleep Disorders

Here’s an interesting article from the website about trucker drivers and sleep disorder federal requirements.

President Obama recently signed a bill stating that any changes in federal requirements for handling truck driver sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, must come through the rulemaking process, rather than guidance to medical examiners.

In regards to the different approaches in dealing with sleep disorder issues, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration traditionally has relied on guidance to make sure that examiners can spot drivers who may have a sleep disorder.

Over the past several years the agency has been working on a more robust guidance that reflects the better understanding of sleep disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea in particular, that doctors and medical researchers have developed.

For more information, examiners and carriers can visit the FMCSA web site, but it will not be added to the longstanding formal guidance the agency has for examiners.

Download Documentation here.

It will no doubt be included in any rule-making, but before the agency can go there it must research a much broader range of issues.

Rule-makings must include a cost-benefit analysis.

According to Sean Garney, manager of safety policy at American Trucking Associations, this will require the agency to estimate the number of drivers who would be affected by the rule, the percentage of crashes in which sleep apnea is a factor and the percentage that would be affected by treatment of apnea.

Also, the agency will have to look at the costs and effectiveness of testing and treatment, as well as the “discouragement factor” – the extent to which a rule would discourage drivers from coming into the industry, or staying in it, Garney said.

“There’s just a lot that they’re going to […]