Channel 19

Todd Dills

Language of the sleep apnea bill close to becoming law

| October 08, 2013
This poll ran with reporting last week on reactions to news of the bill discussed in this post. Read the full report here.
This poll ran with reporting last week on reactions to news of the bill discussed in this post. Read the full report here.

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 — is as follows:

An Act
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,

(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. 

Senate passes sleep apnea bill
Amid government shutdown furor, a tap on the sleep apnea brakes
FMCSA: Expect apnea guidance in near term
Sleep apnea reg recommendations: Comments closed?
Language of the MCSAC/Medical Review Board apnea recommendations

  • MercenaryMan

    Todd Please keep us abreast of when the PUBLIC COMMENT part comes, I think we need make sure the language of all possible treatment alternatives need to be made firm in the bill, Dental appliances should be part of the legal treatment, the manufactureres of RESMED, PHILLIPS AND GE whove spent millions gearing up with machines that are expensive and not easy to learn to use, will fight that tooth and nail as they have a vested interest in seeing the dental treatments not used, they would lose there interest in sleep apnea quickly once they found out there expensive machines arent the ONLY treatment.

  • Jason Haggard

    This bill really means nothing, it only requires them to allow public comments before they go ahead and ignore those comments like they have done with every other listening session.

  • lejoelle

    That is correct, all approved methods needs to be on the table.
    From the start the vested interests have been sitting at the table with FMCSA as advisors to the language regarding sleep apnea. Every regulation is backed by a group that wants its passage, it is the trucking interests that are not represented or very little input from our side.
    It is usually the haters of trucking that gets to sit at the table and add their agenda to the rule making.
    Where are the haters of trucks when their family member is the cause of an accident……they are wanting more regulations put on the industry.

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  • Jeff Wolsieffer

    I still feel like I was duped into this. I’ve gone from getting 8 of the 10 hours needed for sleep every night for driving OTR to staying awake for 4 hours and 10 minutes every night making sure the mask doesn’t fall off then trying to fall asleep during the remaining hours then driving completely wore-out every day for the last year – at least!
    Aren’t there LAWs against Whome You Need To Sleep With in the U.S. anymore?
    I mean, what part of having a 10 hour reset provides for C-PAP Compliance?
    – JW strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.