Senate passes sleep apnea bill, president’s signature would make it law

| October 07, 2013

sleep apneaThe U.S. Senate passed last week a two-page piece of legislation — the so-called sleep apnea bill — that would require that any action taken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pertaining to sleep disorder screening for trucking companies come via formal rulemaking and not guidance, as the agency had previously hinted it planned to do.

The bill now moves on to President Barack Obama, who can make the bill law with his signature.

Kevin Hall, communications director for bill co-sponsor Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), said the Senate’s vote was unanimous. The House cleared the bill with a unanimous vote, 405-0, Sept. 26.

The bill does not require that FMCSA take any action related to sleep disorder screening. It only prevents FMCSA from using guidance to issue what would essentially be informal rules, which, according to House bill sponsor Rep. Larry Buschon (R-Md.), would make carriers vulnerable to lawsuits.

It also would not allow the rule to be fully analyzed before becoming a regulation, Buschon said in a letter to colleagues last month when rallying support for the bill.

The legislation is supported by the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

After the House introduced the bill, FMCSA issued a statement saying it would pursue rulemaking on sleep apnea screening rather than guidance.

  • MercenaryMan

    ( would make carriers vulnerable to lawsuits.) So the real reason comes forth, The Congress acts to protect the carriers from Lawsuits, which have already been happening due to the Ambulance chasers using the SLEEP issue as a grounds to extract MILLIONS of dollars from the Carriers INSURANCE COMPANIES….So the Lobbys, Lawyers, and the Congress Lawyers, and the Trucking company Lawyers, all cower in a corner from the Ambulance chaser lawyers whove been using a trumped up medical issue,CLAIMING that truckers specially fat ones who snore,(doesnt everyone snore, I just saw a commercial of Drew Brees on TV he was SNORING)..but ALL truckers will be subjected to these questionair, and the sleep lab test, and the EXPENSES of it all to protect the Carriers from Lawsuits….

    Ive written many times about this and now fellow drivers, O/Os its time to be heard, Unless you want to be subject to another costly mandated program, wearing the cpap machine nightly for the rest of your life, as long as you hold a CDL….Its time to write and tell FMCSA, Anne Ferro, Mr Anthony Foxx and the rest of the rulemakers, ENOUGH….this rulemaking will take a few years, more millions will be spent and youll see more and more ads, articles and Lawyers in newspapers saying UNSAFE TIRED FAT TRUCKERS KILL FAMILY……and then the lobbys get even more aggressive and spend millions on ads and articles, Fat truckers, Snoring truckers, CRAZED KILLER TRUCKERS !!!!

    I say when ten times that number happen a year caused by Irresponsible, aggressive, distracted drivers of AUTOMOBILES, who dont take physicals, who dont pay HUNDREDS of dollars for Licenses, Plates and then hundreds of thousands for a vehicle, and again yearly taxes in the thousands. But were the issue….I THINK NOT.

    The safety ratings for Truckers has gotten better every year and inspections are finding less and less issues, were doing the best job we can under the heap of regulations were being buried under because WE dont have that kind of LOBBY, outside of OOIDA we have the ATA, who most feel dont really speak for the independent, O/O….So we MUST speak for ourselves.

    Protecting the Carriers from the lawyers should involve forcing drivers to PAY FOR uneccessary Medical treatments because some LOBBY has painted an ugly picture of men and women who have driven all night working to feed there familys….

    I simply ask you to write, call, comment, and stand up and be counted and let them know, were not a guinea pig, were not bottomless pits of money, we cant keep paying for the costs of treatments, Physicians changes, DOT laws and unneeded regulation thats designed to protect the lawyers from the lawyers, maybe we should start a lobby to protect us from THEM,,,,,SNORING LAWYERS !!!!

  • Diane Gregoli Marchand

    maybe congress should focus on the important issues like the debt celiling, national security , economy , and leave the truckers alone. most of them know when to shut it down Not WHEN YOU SAY THEY HAVE TO@!@ you are stressing the truckers wondering how they will make a living with THESE NEW STUPID RIDICULOUS RULES CONGRESS HAS DREAMED UP have you ever been a trucker NO so how do you know.!! more people die from texting, drinking and driving, and distracted driving in cars then trucks why don’t you focus on them the truckers are just trying to make a living and congress, the president are just IDIOTS FOR INTERFEREING where they have no clue SO how much money has been spent on COMMITTEES TO DO STUDIES ON SLEEP APNEA GET A LIFE AND WORRY ABOUT THE COUNTRY. !!! I m sick of all the crooks in the government spending our Taxes on themselves and Vacations and parties and raises and TOP NOTCH Medical care and Retirement for Congress memebers this should be FOR THE PEOPLE YOU WORK FOR US GET IT RIGHT . YOU HAVE DISGRACED OUR COUNTRY. ITS A LAUGHING STOCK OF THE WORLD.

  • localnet

    Well, if you were stupid enough to admit to sleep apnea, Obamacare will make sure you never drive a commercial vehicle again. Give it a year… Mark my words!

  • Joseph Morris

    The job of a politician is to be elected Once elected the job is to be re-elected. I used to think the cost of acquiring a job should be less than the pay for the job. How much is lifetime medical care with no limits worth? How much is a guaranteed salary even if you do not show up for work worth?

  • Jon Danzig

    In the UK, a diagnosis of sleep apnea has to be reported to the driving license authority. Usually they will let drivers keep their license if treatment is successful, as it is in most cases. I now won’t sleep without my CPAP machine that is 100% effective.

    However, my journey to being diagnosed was bizarre. I have today published the story of my overnight hospital sleep test in London that was a comical disaster. I didn’t sleep a wink.

    See, ‘Sleepless in London’

  • Bassgeye

    So does this mean they can still order you to submit to a costly sleep study in order to get your med card or not, based solely on neck size, age, and type 2 diabetes? strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.