Language of the sleep apnea bill close to becoming law
Reader David Gilland shared a note yesterday on Overdrive‘s Facebook page relative to the sleep apnea bill that passed the House with a unanimous vote before the government’s partial shutdown and which has now passed the Senate: “You need to publish the sleep apnea bill so drivers understand what congress is requiring FMCSA to do,” he wrote.
Good call, David, and apologies for not doing it before now — one reason we hadn’t as yet I suspect is due to the ultimate simplicity of the bill, i.e. there’s not more than a single page to it, as this pdf will show (follow the link to download a copy you can share around at will). Text of the bill — follow the status of H.R. 3095 via GovTrack.us — is as follows:
To ensure that any new or revised requirement providing for the screening, testing, or treatment of individuals operating commercial motor vehicles for sleep disorders is adopted pursuant to a rulemaking proceeding, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO SLEEP DISORDERS.
(a) IN GENERAL. —The Secretary of Transportation may implement or enforce a requirement providing for the screening, testing, or treatment (including consideration of all possible treatment alternatives) of individuals operating commercial motor vehicles for sleep disorders only if the requirement is adopted pursuant to a rulemaking proceeding.
(b) APPLICABILITY. —Subsection (a) shall not apply to a requirement that was in force before September 1, 2013.
(c) SLEEP DISORDERS DEFINED. —In this section, the term “sleep disorders” includes obstructive sleep apnea.
And that is the extent of it. Some commenters have seen this as nothing more than Congressional go-ahead granted to FMCSA to get on with whatever sleep-apnea-related medical certification rules they have in the works, but given the complex formality of the rulemaking process the bill requires, with copious time allowed for individual input, others have looked more favorably on the bill. What do you think?
In any case, I hope the text here might clear up any confusion about just what the bill seeks to do.
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