Sleep apnea bill advances as FMCSA says it will use rulemaking, not guidance

| September 23, 2013

sleep apnea

In response to a bill currently in the U.S. House, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released a statement saying it will address sleep disorder screening via its formal rulemaking process and not simply guidance. 

The House bill, introduced earlier this month, would require FMCSA pursue rulemaking if it were to take action on sleep disorder screening and not issue guidance. 

FMCSA will issue a notice to address obstructive sleep apnea through the formal rulemaking process after collecting and analyzing the necessary data and research,” the agency’s statement said.

According to GovTrack, the House’s sleep apnea bill passed the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Sept. 20 the bill could see action on the House floor this week, GovTrack says.

The 2-page bill, if enacted, would not by itself require the agency to develop a sleep apnea rule. It only requires that FMCSA go through the formal rulemaking process when making the bill so it can be properly evaluated. Sleep disorder screening would cost the for-hire industry alone $1 billion a year, said the bill sponsor Rep. Larry Buschon (R-Md.), “in the interest of due process.”

Click here to see previous Overdrive‘s previous coverage of the bill.

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  • g

    That picture looks real “delightful”..maybe that guy should be in a Hospital….tubes hanging out of him?? Yuuuuuk!!!!!

  • g

    At least he could use that mask and tube to scare motorists if he wears it while driving!!!! Looks Hilarious….

  • Nualaan

    Sleep Apnea affects a LOT of people, it is no laughing matter, it is bad for overall health and untreated results in accidents.

    The person in the photo is wearing a mask which is connected to the apnea machine via that hose while they sleep.

    People who snore in their sleep are likely candidates for sleep apnea and should have a sleep study done.

  • SWK02

    I’m all for safety but this is getting out of control. I don’t want to be riding down the road next to people who are tired but lets be honest about this. There are roughly 4,000 accidents a year with commercial trucks. Out of those accidents 3/4ths are caused by the person in the car, not the person driving the big rig. Commercial accidents are at an all time low and have dropped every year since 1980. How much safer does it have to be? At what point is enough enough? How many drivers are going to be able to sleep with all those hoses and equipment running in that small sleeper? Not many. Now lets look at some other facts. We have a driver shortage. Regardless of why that is, if this were to pass then that driver shortage is going to become seriously worse. Not only that but what about the discriminant part of this? Are we going to actively discriminate against someone just because they are overweight? If you tell someone they are not allowed to drive does that mean they can go on disability? You are telling someone that they can no longer do their job… a job that a lot of other people are not qualified nor have shown interest in wanting to do even during an economic downturn when it was still short on drivers. Lastly lets look at the politics of this. This has been pushed by the American Medical Assoc. and its powerful lobbyist in DC. They do not care how much economic harm they cause this country all they see is dollar signs by being able to signal out a group of individuals who are regulated (to much) by the Government. If they succeed then what to stop them from going after soccer mom or weekend warrior dads? Like I said, I’m all for safety but I’m also for common sense. Older drivers are getting out, some because of health or old age, most because they hate the over regulation that the industry is headed in. When is enough enough?

  • smitty

    I think it’s time the FMCSA pull’s there head out of there ass. Whats next Banning truck driver’s from a truck plaza if they snore. that way that person doesn’t wake the other drivers?

  • ag

    My husband has one of these machines, and it really isn’t bad for him. He feels much more alert during the day. This is a great thing for people to become aware of, however, the extra cost to the trucking company is going to be hard to deal with. All the rules and regulations are becoming very expensive to small companies like mine.

  • Robin

    My husband tried the mask and couldn’t sleep. So, you’ll end up with drivers forced to purchase the machines and not even using them. How does that help anything. Luckily, our physician didn’t put the suspected disorder in his medical file. Otherwise, we would be paying even more for Obama Care. Maybe they should spend more time finding places for drivers to sleep and rest.

  • BudinOK

    Obamacare will probably won’t cover it.

  • rc1234

    Obviously we aren’t smart enough to take care of ourselves…we must have gov’t help…I am so sick of all the b.s….only 4 more years to retirement if I can stand it…

  • DAN

    So does booze, Should we make everyone who has a drink after work go for a alcoholism test?

  • DAN

    Make it a rule for all motorist.

  • MercenaryMan

    NO they shouldnt, people snore for many reasons and being a trucker shouldnt be one, There pigeon holing a captive pocketbook, I BILLION thats far less then reality, 5 billion a year for the sleep industry, Ill bet they didnt spend near that on Lobbying especially when the people who ist on the FMCSA Board are stockholders in SLEEP EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS….How many rules does it take to make an Industry safe, Accidents happen for a variety of reasons, the old image of truckers hyped up on little pills and coffee doesnt jibe anymore, DRUG TESTING has ended that, saying every large person is a candidate is another farce, many large people are healthy as you, Stygmatizing FAT DRIVERS and saying there at risk and dangerous is a farce. I think Drivers better wise up and write there Congressman, woman, DO NOTHING and tell them we deamnd some relief from Onerous, Costyl and overburdensome laws that are no more then robbery, FORCED robbery of the drivers earning a living, Now each driver will be FORCED to pay up to 3000.00 per sleep lab test, no test, no CDL, Places like Concentra whove been forcing drivers into the IN HOUSE sleep program, How Convenient $$$ and making millions….ITS NOT EVEN A LAW, nor can they demand you accept it, Its not a law….but as SHEEPLE they will allow this Sleep Industry and FMCSA to make you spend that money for sleep equipment, Doctors visits, On Board reporting, and it never ends, once your on that machine its for the rest of your driving career……HOGWASH

  • EF McHenry

    You’re right. The large corporate trucking companies and FMCSA have no interest at all in creating the proper set of circumstances where a driver can actually get suffi

  • Strucks1001

    The key words were “Sleep disorder screening would cost the for-hire industry alone $1 billion a year” well that ought to help Obama-care’s cause ….t hat money goes somewhere and its not to the hospital. Once your dignosed you MUST buy the machine $1600 bucks, have regular tests done and be in comliance or insurance will deny it imediatly and you’ll be stuck with the cost…I know my wife is a sleep tech I hear the horror stories, you cant just choose not to wear the mask it has a way recording everything via SD Card that you have to bring in with you to prove your in compliance… so therrefor disability would NOT pay…. you’d be out of work becuase you didnt comply, lose your CDL, and insurance wont cover anymore sleep disorders you get. Money into the industry that doesnt help us…. welcome to un-FREE America!

  • Strucks1001

    oh and a sleep study cost $5000

  • JessLuke

    these CPAP machines run on 110 volts…how ya gonna keep them running all night without running down ur batteries down without running ur truck or an ac generator…so much for the no idling rules…

  • EF McHenry

    sufficient rest.

  • Stormy

    Let them push this one and if each and EVERY driver that has to go for testing doesn’t file for disability then we need to shut up and let them keep on with their ignorance. ”Excessive Fatigue” caused by sleep apnea is a disability.

    If we all don’t call our senators and representatives then we deserve what we get. I have already called mine.

    Shutting down Washington DC for 3.days is a great idea – just not realistic Trucks will never make it into Washington – the DOT will have them sitting OOS at every weigh station along the way. Nobody knows who started this unorganized and unplanned event and one of my first guesses is FMCSA. For them, it is a real money maker for them with trucks rolling right straight towards them. Bikers can have organized rides, truckers can’t. I wish it could happen but it will fail before the first truck gets into Washington, if the first truck makes it through.

    So call your Congressman, call your representative, call Anthony Fox and call the media. Let them rework the budget and add an increase to the disability budget and the Medicare budget for all the truckers will find themselves living off disability because they just don’t know when enough is enough and too much is miserable.

  • RalphMalph

    No agency/bureau should be able to enforce a mandate that it is not itself boverned by …. if it’s good for us, it’s good for them.

    Think many of those writings these Mandates don’t snore … how many are just a little too heavy on the drive axles themselves … sugar problem, no problem, we’ll be happy to elect your replacement !

  • EF McHenry

    ONCE AGAIN, THERE IS NO DIRECT CAUSATION PROOF DRIVERS WHO HAVE SLEEP APNEA CAUSE CMV CRASHES BECAUSE OF IT!!! PERIOD! NO PROOF!

    Also it is so interesting that a few years back a physician and former professor at Harvard Medical School Dr. Robert Fogel fabricated and falsified data so that the data would better conform to his hypothesis. In fact he did it using federal funds and was subsequently disciplined by the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services for faking data in sleep apnea study funded by federal research grants!!
    Come on folks, can anybody really believe what these sooth-sayers of sleep medicine have to say about your health and your job??

    There more:

    Even the insurance industry is saying enough. npr’s Jenny Gold wrote a very revealing article about this recent tensions mounting between these two billion dollar industries. The title of the article:
    The Sleep Apnea Business Is Booming And Insurers Aren’t Happy

    And there is so much more……

  • sandman

    “likely candidates for sleep apnea” but out of the 3 people in my household who snore – no sleep apnea. The test is expensive – this is just too much – let the trucker make a living (as hard as that it now-a-days).

  • sandman

    Good for your husband, he must have gone to the doc when thought he needed it and on his own dime. Gov’ment didn’t have to make him get tested & use the machine. It was his decision…..that’s the way it should be done!

  • cameron

    I have sleep apnea, been on a cpap powered by an inverter for years. It is absolutely not a power problem. It uses less power than my refrigerator. I sleep every night with both cpap and fridge on and never a problem.

  • William McKelvie

    Well WHOOP TEEE DOO, does it really matter what method they use to get to THEIR desired agenda? Not according to their history. They are going to do what they want to do, no matter how many honest driver responses they get. Doesn’t matter if you write blogs, throw marvelous conventions or truck shows, write books or do video’s……….Ferro and Foxx following in the footsteps of Barrack and Hillary.

  • Daniel Kupke

    Be positive about this going to DC thing for the trucks as well as the shutdown ?? Thats the reason they don’t work is because of the wet blankets like you !! Join forces for once with the other drivers n help this thing work instead of being negative !!

  • Pigbeard

    There is an abundance of information and data that supports lowered awareness and concentration in patients with untreated OSA due to poor sleep architecture. You don’t have to use CPAP, just get a new field of work if you’re too stubborn to even attempt improvement of your own health.

  • guest

    He MUST wear the litte Mask when he goes to beddy Bye…otherwise the Dash Cam will see he aint got it on and his dispatcher will scold him!!

  • guest

    That ignorant mask and tube is hilarious…looks like he is on his death bed…..what a total P.O.S.
    If he is so ill that he has to wear that crap he needs to
    be n a hospital lol

  • guest

    Whoever designed that piece of crap has got to be laughing all the way to the Bank…..you could NEVER get a good night sleep wearing that P.O.S. it must be somebody’s idea of a joke….how rediculous……….then a BEEPER starts Beeping from his ignorant dispatcher…then the CARB COP is banging on your door….then the Idle Cop…..and if you are in a Rest Area the D.O.T is banging on your door….the driver will never Get any rest……….lol

  • Stormy

    I think Idle Aire designed the mask.

  • Stormy

    You can’t drive around Washington DC., most streets aren’t wide enough to get a truck around the corner. So we drive through, cross into VA, turn around and drive back through again?

    And when the police start getting tired of the game and start directing traffic, you gonna run over them or stop and argue the point?

    And when he calls the tow truck to move you because you won’t move your truck then what are you gonna do – pull out a gun and shoot the tires off the tow truck or pull a gun on the police officer?

    At that point you just lost any power you thought you had because you had a ” BIG truck”. All your friends, pals and allies will be looking for the nearest exit.

    I wish it would work. I wish whoever came up with the idea would step forward and speak up and I wish he/her would have put a few minutes of thinking into how to organize the ”drive by” so it would be effective.

    Sticking together is a group effort and drivers don’t play well with others anymore. They are a new breed.

    If any truck made it through to DC after we have told them the when, where and how then they need a plan to stick together or just they may as well just stay home.

    The DC police are no rookies when it comes to traffic and crowd control and vehicular manslaughter won’t look good on anybody’s resume.

    It is a feel good power play until reality sets in then it is apparently so lacking in thought and planning it is sad.

    Surely we can come up with something better with some glue that will hold a plan ttogether.

  • wheelwell

    Wish the gov. would stay out of our off duty hours.
    Just heard about the terrible Greyhound bus crash on the news… they said the driver choked on his coffee and passed out…. bus overturned with lots of injuries. So… are we banning drinking coffee while driving now too?

  • Sleep girl

    The test IS expensive if you head to a hospital network facility. If you must be tested, do your homework and find an independent facility that can save you major dollars out of pocket. Better yet, speak to your Transportation Safety Directors and have them seek an independent. A lab I work with offers DEEP discounts to trucking companies that are contracted with them, and the out of pocket savings are outstanding!

  • Certifiably Nutty

    i wish – just did a second one in three years back in February – $8800 according to what was billed to the insurance company.

  • stonefly

    No, those machines are complete with a recorder that knows when you’re using it and when you’re not. The information must be submitted periodically for review.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    FMCSA To Do list for 2014:
    1) Ban donuts/fried food as drivers getting a little chubby. 2) Ban grease use on vehicles, dirty greasy hands can slip off the steering wheel. 3) No air allowed in the tires, trucks rolling down the road on tires cause accidents.4) Trucks are to be operated on the highway with the engines off as diesel exhaust hurts the environment. 5) Drivers are to have their vocal cords removed as talking may be a distraction to the safe operation of the vehicle.

    Sorry i couldn’t resist. Look I am a sleep apnea sufferer and I use the machine when ever I bed down. Do we need a rule for this? Is there any significant link between apnea and accidents? I know someone will respond that if it prevents just one accident it is worth it…oh yeah, then ban beer and alcohol sales, energy drinks, sugar, sleeping pills, sexual desire – any of those can lead to an accident as well.

    Tick tock tick tock – the sound of the clock ticking down to the extinction of the O/O. Like the great buffalo herds of the plains from years ago, one by one we will be eliminated until we are rarer then hen’s teeth.

  • stonefly

    If you have one of those machines and like it, good for you. A lot of people couldn’t stand it.

    There are people who like to be chained up and beaten with whips, but it ain’t for everybody.

    Those cpaps should be for people who want them. They should never be mandated. The FMCSA cannot, and neither can anybody, prove that sleep apnea in a truck driver causes him to fall asleep driving. It’s not even likely.

    When you get sleepy, for whatever reason, pull off the road and nap. It’s as simple as that. We need the split sleeper berth provision restored to HOS regs. We need the HOS regs to be returned to the original 2003 changes, changes that did not call for mandatory EOBRs.

  • Certifiably Nutty

    Stonefly, I don’t know if you were being sarcastic or not, but you are correct. Mine has a memory card that tracks every bit of usage – date last used, hours used, average time per usage, etc… Every time I go to the doctor, I have to take the card, he uses it to print a report and puts it in my file.

  • stonefly

    There it is right there. You work in a lab that does the sleep apnea tests and you weigh in on the discussion.

    All of the people who have a financial interest in the testing and machinery weigh in on the lobbying efforts.

    Sleep apnea is part of the grand maneuver to inflate the safety industry.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    They keep this crap up and i will just go on disability , I well get 2100.00 to stay home and ride my motorcycles F them ! Every thing i qwn is paid for even the house .

  • Pingback: Sleep Apnea Bill is Making its Rounds | Poliakoff & Associates, PA

  • Mr Safety

    It’s amazing to me that our legislators can issue rule after rule to regulate the trucking industry, but continue to drag their heels about doing much to regulate the Banking Industry and Wall Street. I’d guess we have to create a near collapse of the economy, and get bailed out by the taxpayers in order to get any relief. I’m all for highway safety, but what’s really the bigger priority here. Obviously the trucking industry’s pockets just aren’t deep enough to compete in buying political loyalty. Time to wake up, and speak up!

  • stonefly

    Not being sarcastic at all. I know somebody who was ordered to use a cpap. He hated it… couldn’t sleep with it. He’s the one who informed me about the memory card. The fella fought and won. He no longer has to use the cpap.

  • stonefly

    “sleep architecture” First time I heard that one. Just what we need, new buzzwords.

  • stonefly

    Machines don’t improve health. Health comes from within. It’s a gift received at birth. Take care of the gift. Machines, as well as drugs, destroy health. Cpap machines destroy health.

  • DEBIEVE

    IF THEY ARE GOING TO TRY AND PASS THIS RULE, THEY NEED TO HAVE IT PASSED SO THAT EVERY MOTORIST IN THIS COUNTRY INCLUDING CONGRESS, THE PREZ, ANYONE WHO DRIVES A CAR, OR ANY OTHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION BE TESTED ..HEY FAIR IS FAIR..BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN..AND I WISH OVERDRIVE WOULD SEND THESE COMMENTS TO OUR ILLUSTRIOUS SO CALLED LEADERS, WHO SIMPLY DON’T HAVE ANY COMMON SENSE WHEN IT COMES TO TRUCKING..AM A TAXPAYER, A TRUCKER, AND I SAY NO TO USELESS WASTE OF MY MONEY..

  • Eric

    This (sleep apnea) as it is called is bogus hell people have been snoring for ever and now that the government can see a way to get a cut of the pie from doctors and pharmacy company’s they will do what it takes to stack more money in the pockets of their own kind.

  • EF McHenry

    100% correct!! Nevermind there is no direct causation proof drivers with sleep apnea are causing CMV accidents/crashes, whatever. But you’d think if people with sleep apnea were really this major imminent threat to everyone else behind the wheel or control of any vehicle, they be testing/screening every car driver, police officer, firefighter, city and school bus drivers, train engineers, pilots, captains/skippers, forklift operators, heavy equipment too, RV Motor Coach for sure, readymix/concrete, taxi, Dr’s & nurses pre-surgery, astronuts to and pretty much everyone else too! WOW!! So yah good comment!!

  • cameron

    Hey cb rambo! Chill out. I was not commenting at all about mandating sleep studies or cpap machines. I am absolutely against any kind of bs mandates like that.
    That said, the comment I replied to was inaccurate; so I corrected him. I use a cpap voluntarily, and there is no reason to fear it wearing down your batteries. THAT is what I was replying to.
    The only thing worse than the gooberment trying to mandate sleep studies is some damn fool truck driver not getting the rest he/she needs because they are worried about wearing out their truck batteries from a silly little cpap machine.

  • stonefly

    I understand, and I’m sure you’re correct. I use a 110v aerator plugged into my inverter to keep shiners and minnows alive. Never had a battery problem because of it.

    I may be rambo, or at least swambo, but I yanked the cb out years ago.

    Question: If someone has sleep apnea, does it mean they’ll fall asleep without warning, or that they’ll just experience more than usual daytime sleepiness?