Bill would require agency to pursue sleep apnea regulation over guidance

| September 12, 2013

Trucker-Tim-Edit017Legislation introduced into the House this week would force the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to develop a formal regulation rather than guidance if it were to pursue any action on sleep disorder screening and treatment.

The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Larry Buschon (R-Md.) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D.-Ill), say in a letter to their House colleagues that the estimated annual cost of screening, diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea “could exceed $1 billion annually,” and that by requiring FMCSA to pursue formal rulemaking rather than guidance, the rule could be properly evaluated as to whether its benefits justify the costs to the industry, the letter says.

That type of analysis would not be conducted if guidance alone were issued, the letter states.

The bill would not require FMCSA to make a sleep apnea rule by itself, though, and would not require any outcome if the agency does pursue a rule. It only requires that any action made by the agency regarding sleep apnea screening be made via the rulemaking process, “in the interest of due process,” the letter says.

“Guidance alone would sidestep a thorough analysis of the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea among truck and bus drivers, the range of possible actions to address the problem, and the full consideration of the views of all effected stakeholders, including the drivers themselves,” according to Buschon’s and Lipinski’s letter to colleagues.

Moreover, the letter says, guidance alone would “make the industry extremely vulnerable to litigation.”

The legislation is endorsed by the American Trucking Associations, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and other stakeholders.

  • martymarsh

    It would cost over a billion bucks a year, well hello, that is exactly why they want it, it has nothing to do with safety, keep that money wheel turning. I would have to say that, Washington thinks everyone but them is stupid and can’t see these things. The hand is quicker than the eye.

  • Guest

    These obese clowns are an eyesore anyway…they should weed these hogs out of trucking…heartattack waiting to happen….waddling around..they should be confined toa Fat Farm for observation….grotesque slobs…make the industry look bad.

  • MD

    I have OSA and it is severe. My pressure is set at 15 which is high. The guidelines are that you must maintain 70% usage or a minimum of 4 hours per day to be in compliance each month. Before I received the machine, midday was the worse for me. I would have to take a 3 hour nap without fail because I was so exhausted. Trust me, I have had the machine since the beginning of 2011. No fatigue at all.

  • MD

    Also, I would like to share that I stand 5′ 11″ and weigh 181 LBS. It hits all shapes and sizes. Plus I do not smoke. It does take a good 3 months to get use to the machine.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Agreed, I am 6’0 and 190 on a good day, non smoker and fairly athletic for a guy in his late 40s. While some Apnea is weight related, for others like me it is either genetic (my father had it and weighed 165 lbs at most his entire life) or related to other conditions. (I had breathing issues as an infant.)

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Same here, that midday time period was the worst, it would hit like a ton of bricks and I would have to find a rest area and sack out for a couple of hours. I had no clue what was going on and just thought I was working too hard and not getting enough downtime to recharge. I am at the same pressure but I started at 19 initially.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    You are right, we should bring in some lean underfed drivers from south of the border to make the industry look better. Those obese clowns you insult likely have more miles under their belt then you. The lifestyle does not lend itself to healthy eating and regular exercise. Maybe that overweight trucker is on the road as much as possible, forced to eat the cheap fast food or fried slop so that he can use what he earns to provide better for his family. Maybe it is a thyroid they can’t properly treat because there is not enough scratch to take care of the fam and treat the thyroid. Stop judging people by how they look, walk a mile in their shoes to understand better.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    And the upshot is, another dip into the O/O’s pocket. Because even if you have insurance, you still have co-pay on the equipment and supplies. Plus you know it will become an issue with the insurance carriers. “No tickets. Good. No accidents. Good. Oh, I see here that you have sleep apnea, well that’s gonna cost you…”

    I am telling you, the goal is the elimination of the O/O, not in one fell swoop but it is the death of a thousand cuts as more and more of each dollar earned is being taken away…fuel costs, depressed rates, higher insurance, regs…it is all adding up.”

  • jr023

    when did HIPPA get repealed? it used to be your DR and patient
    and if the Dr had a legitimate concern then the medical card was declined or revoked. now with medical and looks like medical in general it will be some overpaid state dot or federal non medical person is going to make the decisions and its starting into non cdl trucks

  • EF McHenry

    I agree with so much of what you have said. However I’m conviced it’s even more….
    They like Short Term relationships with their employees
    Their business model is Short Term Profit
    In labor they can get away with this because there is a surplus of labor, not a shortage. This is why they can tighten the noose through draconian regulation by the force of govt and get away with it! I intend to leave my own comment but good comment to you!

  • EF McHenry

    I agree, you sure got that right!

  • martymarsh

    I get one right every once in a while, but it is so obvious everything they do is about money, why else are the overregulating this industry? There is no good reason.

  • martymarsh

    Another with high hopes of being a driver manager, or is that what you are now? Flexing them big dispatcher muscles.

  • EF McHenry

    I’m very suspicious of anything the FMCSA wants to do and I’m equally suspicious or corporate lobby groups like the ATA(American Trucking Association). But rather than rip into them, I’d like to make a few points.

    First of all inspite of OOIDA’s support for a formal rule-making process for a sleep apnea test, guidance on sleep screening would not have the force of law behind it. A formal rule would! In my opinion the validation of a Notice of Proposed Rule making just gives credibility to the whole issue!
    Second there is no Direct Causation evidence for sleep apnea and accidents involving CMV’s. To date we are only being offered Systemic Correlation! We aren’t even being given Systemic Causation here!! It doesn’t matter that there exists some scant case law on this.
    Third, as OOIDA has so clearly shown, those on the FMCSA’s MRB stand to benefit BIG TIME by a new sleep rule for truckers!

    And finally since everything in life can be ultimately connected or associated with everthing else in life, you can’t hang negligence on causes so far removed, so many degrees seperated in terms of contribution in a way in which any event(i.e. crash)can be said to have this endless regress of causes that in reality have no actually direct cause or proximate cause. I’m so jaded on the sleep apnea issue, that It should be relegated to the trash heap of ”Questionable Cause” or ”False Cause” or more properly; ”non causa pro causa!”

  • martymarsh

    Right on the money, in other words, it is a scam.

  • EF McHenry

    Absolutely! First off thankyou for your support here. You know beside my argument from causation, I find it interesting that ”sleep medicine” didn’t even begin until the 2nd half of the 20th century. In fact it’s such a new area of medical science that the American Medical Association didn’t even recognize ”sleep medicine” as a specialty until about 1996 I believe! That’s less than 20yrs, hardly enough time to be a durable medical science relatively speaking. And certainly not reliable enough to upend a entire industry!
    Never mind the hypocrisy that any real meaning sleep science could be directed at each and every car driver in America as well. Every police officer, and literally anyone who operates a piece of equipment, vehicle, plane, train, boat, rocket blah blah blah!
    As of date, it truly is a truck industry scam! Have a nice day

  • martymarsh

    Again right on the money and well said.

  • 2wildT

    Make no mistake here folks, it’s just a matter of time and the FMCSA is going to make each and every driver get tested for sleep apnea. it won’t even be a question of your health or if you’re displaying any symptoms. They’ve custom designed a new disease for truck drivers and they’re lining up to cash in. As it’s been said, and we all know it to be true, it’s about money, plain and simple.

  • EF McHenry

    100% Correct. Good comment

  • Teresa Martin Johnson

    Exactly marty! The ones holding the bucks are the ones in the FMCSA and the House making the rules since they are the ones receiving the big bucks from the lobbyists of these large companies that make these C-pap and Bi-Pap machines… can we say “Major Kickbacks”!

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  • MercenaryMan

    Its been shown that Medical Board Members hold stock in RESMED, PHILLIPS, GE and others, WHO PROFITS….not the guy trying to make his house payment , or put his little girl thru college….its legal pick pocketing and we better wake up and get this garbage thrown out, that is if Congress can pick itself up outta the hog pen and do its job, doubtful because the hand with the wads of cash is in there pockets, the working man doesnt stand a chance.

  • MercenaryMan

    I would include STUPID people like you in that group. Trucking has far too many Ignoramuses….Big Word, you might not know what that means, LOOK IN THE MIRROR, ….

  • MercenaryMan

    For those this has helped it is a Miracle, I had a best freind who was ex military who had this as well, but as far as a panacea to cure all safety and tired driver issues, NO

  • MercenaryMan

    The image above seesm so restful etc, but how many times has some guy in a reefer pulled in next to you and a blast of nice diesel fumes fill the sleeper, and forget sleeping on your side….or the APU fumes….

  • Stormy

    Ever hear of anybody who took a sleep apnea test and not have sleep apnea? I haven’t.

  • ripshag

    Independents had better bond together and park their rigs for a week straight and show these clowns in congress that we are tired of all their rules regulations and their crap.These guys need to get a life and try something that might really benefit this country.This country is becoming more of a communist run country every day if we don’t hit these dictators right where it hurts you will eventually be working for some other big company that kissed their butt or be working at mcdonalds and be flat broke something had better change quick. I own 2 trucks and I am game to park them a week or two. If thigs don’t get turned around a man wont be able to keep his truck anyway because you and I will loose them.

  • DB001

    I’ve been in household goods for 46 years. I’d like to know where the profit is in Short Term. All I’ve done is invest, hoping for the long term. So far it’s just not a good industry for me and my family to be in. Retire? That’s funny.

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  • hardtomakealivin

    These two IDIOT reps aren’t going to be happy till everyone’s wrapped in bubble wrap and sucking on the government teat like they are. I guess they have a crystal ball that tells them when I’m going to drop dead.

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