On October 15, 2013, President Obama signed a bill stating that any changes in federal requirements for handling truck drivers with sleep disorders, such as OSA or otherwise known as sleep apnea, must go through the rulemaking process versus medical examiners.
So screening, testing, or treatment of those commercial drivers would be through rulemaking. The bill passed the House 405-0 and Senate was unanimous. The bill clearly defines sleep apnea as a sleep DISORDER.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association quickly applauded the representatives for introducing the bill.
The ATA said the legislation would “ensure that if the federal government sets standards for sleep apnea screening and testing of professional truck and bus drivers, those standards are established through an informed rulemaking process.”
There have been complaints over the years by both truckers and medical professionals that there was fuzziness in federal guidance on OSA testing and treatment. Trucking’s request for more than regulatory guidance has been longstanding.
“Fatigue and driver health are two serious issues facing the trucking industry,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “However, as important as it is to address those issues, it is equally important for the federal government to use the regulatory process – with its emphasis on science-based outcomes and cost-benefit analyses.”
It is crucial to promote the most effective treatments that minimize impact to stakeholders, drivers, and everyone on the road that sleep disorders are treated and if not, get off the road.