Sleep apnea bill becomes law, FMCSA can’t use guidance to address driver screening

| October 17, 2013

sleep apneaThe so-called sleep apnea bill that quickly made its way through both chambers of Congress in recent weeks was signed into law by President Barack Obama Tuesday, Oct. 15. The law forbids the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from using guidance alone to address sleep apnea screening for drivers. 

The law does not require FMCSA to make a sleep apnea screening rule. Rather, it requires that if the agency take action, it do so via the formal rulemaking process rather than guidance, as the agency had hinted it would do. 

The House introduced its version of the bill in early September and passed it less than two weeks later. 

Truckers offer their take on the sleep apnea bill

In the meantime, FMCSA had released a statement saying it would use rulemaking and not guidance when it decided to pursue action on sleep apnea screening. 

However, the Senate introduced the House bill in late September and passed the bill it last week.

In a letter to House colleagues after introducing the legislation, Rep. Larry Buschon (R-Md.) said the FMCSA plan to use guidance alone would prevent the industry and the public from having the ability to properly evaluate the rule and take part in the process.

“In the interest of due process,” the letter said, any action FMCSA takes should come in the form of a rule. Guidance also, the letter said, would make carriers vulnerable to lawsuits.

Click here to see the full text of the two-page bill.

  • larry tanton

    If you had any knowledge about sleep apnea you wouldn’t be saying what you are. I know for a fact one that has the condition can fall asleep without noticing they are falling asleep until it happens. It has nothing to do with you being physically tired. Argue all you want but you don’t have a clue to what you’re talking about. I have been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and know what i’m talking about, my bipap have saved my life and if not had been tested me or someone else would likely be dead today.

  • Big Boy Bob

    Its the same with alcohol. No causation, just correlation! Lmfao.

  • Big Boy Bob

    I think everyone that drives for a living should be tested. Not sure about regular people though. But cabbies, cops, pilots absolutely.
    CPAP changed my life. I never thought I had a problem before I had CPAP though.

  • MercenaryMan

    I agree if you have the issue with Sleep Apnea get treatment, But I dont agree test everyone in America with a DL, thats the Sleep Industrys dream come true, instead of a 5 BILLION dollar profit from Truckers it would be GAZILLIONS in profit, Its a scam hoisted upon the rest of us by Lawyers, Medical Industry and Over zealous regulators….How is it if we ALL have Sleep Apnea you dont see carnage on the Interstates of a magnitude thats unbelievable….Its just not the issue they want it to be, The Sleep Lobbys and Makers who build the devices and whove invested in the devices THIS IS A CASH COW for them, and its riiculous to say everyone with a big belly is dangerous, and needs a blower attached to there face….SCAM

  • DAK

    Divorce and live together, adopt illegals you will make a good living. 5 gs per kid per year.Then make them get jobs.

  • Roy Ijams

    Any idea the cause of friends death?

  • Roy Ijams

    I lost my job. Got a seizure after 8hrs cpap. I hope to get a lawsuit against sleep folks. I have found cpap fraud. Hope you are well. My wife and I are going to counseling to help deal with loss of home and our jobs. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.