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FMCSA seeking input on sleep apnea screening


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will host three public listening sessions to solicit input on the impacts of screening, evaluating and treating commercial truck drivers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended the US DoT take action to address OSA screening and treatment for transportation workers, including rail operators. A joint Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) is the first step towards proposing requirements specifically on sleep apnea.

“It is imperative for everyone’s safety that commercial motor vehicle drivers and train operators be fully focused and immediately responsive at all times,” said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “DoT strongly encourages comment from the public on how to best respond to this national health and transportation safety issue.”

Estimates suggest as many as 22 million men and women could be suffering from sleep apnea without realizing it. The condition can cause unintended sleep episodes and deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, memory and the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety-sensitive service, FMCSA indicates. For those with OSA, eight hours of sleep can be less productive than four hours of ordinary, uninterrupted sleep, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

“The collection and analysis of sound data on the impact of OSA must be our immediate first step,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “We call upon the public to help us better understand the prevalence of OSA among commercial truck and bus drivers, as well as the safety and economic impacts on the truck and bus industries.”

The ANPRM can be viewed here.