Recently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a notice that it is seeking feedback from the trucking industry on the prevalence of sleep apnea.
DOT is looking into how widespread this issue is, as well as the costs associated with treatment. Known as “pre-rule,” this is the first step in proposing specific requirements around sleep apnea conditions.
Sleep Apnea Data
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Association have teamed up to work on this issue. These associations have a list of 20 questions that they would like answered by the public. The questions cover everything from:
- The cost and benefits of treatment
- The problem of obstructive sleep
- Screening Procedures
- Qualification standards of medical personnel
- Treatment Effectiveness
The goal is to help improve current and future driver safety. The agencies will also be looking at the potential economic impact and safety benefits of regulatory actions.
The Questions on Sleep Apnea
If you want to have your voice heard, you will have 90 days to leave a comment. The open comment period will close after June 8. If you do have sleep apnea, it’s especially important to make sure that you submit your responses on time so that the agencies have as much data as possible.
Understanding the Pre-Rule Activity for Sleep Apnea
This news may seem sudden in the industry, but there have actually been steps in place since 2000 to learn more about this issue. Almost 16 years ago, FMCSA’s Medical Review Board started issuing recommendations on the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of truckers who were afflicted with sleep apnea issues. Then, in 2013, Congress passed legislation that instructs FMCSA on the approach it must take regarding OSA. Right now, the legislation does not require that any agency issue a sleep apnea regulation or policy. But the legislation does state that no policy can be issued unless an agency first conducts a detailed analysis of the prevalence of OSA among commercial truck drivers. Agencies must also look at the possible methods to address the problem, and the agency must also look at the costs and benefits that may result from potential solutions.
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