The U.S. Department of Transportation has taken what is been called a “first step” to address obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in truck drivers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Thursday will jointly publish an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that calls for public input during the next 90 days on the impacts of screening, evaluating, and treating commercial drivers and rail workers for OSA.
As reported by trade media, a pre-publication copy of the DOT proposal cites several sleep apnea-related incidents investigated by NTSB in both the trucking and rail industries.
FMCSA and FRA will host three public listening sessions to gather input on OSA in Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles as both agencies consider whether to propose requirements specifically on OSA.
The agencies are also requesting information about the potential economic impact and safety benefits associated with “regulatory actions that would result in transportation workers in these positions, who exhibit multiple risk factors for OSA, undergoing evaluation by a healthcare professional with expertise in sleep disorders, and subsequent treatment.” Trucking industry groups are taking a wait-and-see position on the proposal.
“We’re pleased that DOT is taking the time to solicit input and data from the industry and the public on this important safety issue because we believe regulations—including one that might possibly address obstructive sleep apnea—should be based upon sound data and analysis,” American Trucking Assns. spokesman Sean McNally said. “In particular, DOT needs to understand the scope of the problem, the number of crashes that directly result from sleep apnea, and determine if there is a need for a solution that can improve safety, but in a way that is both effective and cost-beneficial to drivers and fleets.”
FMCSA currently recommends that medical examiners refer any CMV drivers who are detected to have a respiratory dysfunction, such as OSA, for further evaluation and therapy.
To read the joint ANPRM on OSA and provide comments, click here.