People with CDL trucking jobs already lament the federal regulations they must abide by in today’s world. Now, yet another regulation looms in the balance for truck drivers. If you are a CDL permit holder, now’s your time to speak up on the issue of sleep apnea.
On March 8, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration jointly announced that they are seeking public comment during the next 90 days on the impacts of screening, evaluating, and treating CMV drivers and rail workers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Writer David Cullen wrote about the issue in Heavy Duty Trucking.
Ramifications from public comments remain undetermined
But, the two federal agencies host three public listening sessions to gather input on obstructive sleep apnea. They collect from CDL permit holders and others in the transportation industry. The sessions occur in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles.
“The agencies said their Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, a.k.a. a “pre-rule,” serves as “the first step” in considering whether to propose specific requirements around OSA,” Cullen’s article states.
The pre-rule, titled “Evaluation of Safety Sensitive Personnel for OSA,” specifically seeks “data and information concerning the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in rail and highway transportation.”
The agencies request information about the possible financial impact and safety benefits associated with “regulatory actions”
Transportation workers showing more than one risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea face evaluation by a sleep disorder specialist. They then receive treatment.
The current pre-rule activity aligns with legislation passed by Congress in 2013 that instructs FMCSA on the regulatory approach it must take regarding OSA.
That law does not require the agency to issue any sleep-apnea policy or regulation. Rather, the bill states that no policy can be issued without the agency first conducting a thorough analysis of the prevalence of OSA among commercial drivers; the range of possible actions to address the problem; and the costs and benefits that may result.
Sleep apnea is a common condition causing a person’s breathing to pause during sleep.
As Cullen states in his article, the pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and occur more than 30 times an hour. Ultimately, sleep apnea results in poor sleep quality and fatigue.
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