Channel 19

Todd Dills

Sleep apnea reg recommendations: Comments closed?

| April 24, 2012

If you’ve missed the news as yet, the recommendations put forward by the joint meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and Medical Review Board to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on sleep apnea entered a 30-day comment period late last week. Or did they? The agency sent out updates to various media following the Federal Register notice that stated the proposal to adopt the recommendations as official regulatory guidance was posted in “a clerical error.”

In any case, if you’re confused by the fact that the Federal Register page for the proposal remains live here, you’re not alone. For all intents and purposes, it looks pretty well live to me, too.

If you’re short on time, I don’t imagine you should put aside potentially lucrative business activity to comment on a proposed rule that is in the kind of limbo suggested above, but then again if you do in fact have the time…

At least you can check out the official transcription there of the MCSAC/MRB’s recommendations for the time being. The agency asked in its erroneous proposal for you to weigh in directly on the recommendations, among them to require all drivers found to have a body-mass-index measurement of 35 or greater to face mandatory testing for sleep apnea. An agency rep, speaking on background, tells me the official withdrawal of the proposal is set to be published later this week, fyi, so time may be of the essence.

The recommendations as listed in the proposed guidance are very similar, regardless, to my transcription of the proceedings at the February MCSAC meeting, which you can read without time limit here.

Take the snafu under advisement, and I don’t think you’d be totally out of line to view this “clerical error” as indication of the kind of rulemaking the agency may well pursue in future.

The MCSAC meets publicly again next month in Alexandria, Va., May 21-23, agenda as yet unknown. Stay tuned to this page for updates.


UPDATE 4/26/2012

Language of the withdrawal of the request for comment was, as promised, officially published to the Federal Register website today. Text follows. Of note: “We anticipate requesting public comment on the recommendations later this year.” Stay tuned.


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Proposed Recommendations on Obstructive Sleep Apnea
AGENCY:  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION:  Withdrawal of Notice.
SUMMARY: FMCSA is withdrawing its proposed regulatory guidance for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and request for comment as published on April 20, 2012. The Agency is still in the process of carefully reviewing the recommendations submitted by the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and Medical Review Board. The initial publication was a clerical error. We anticipate requesting public comment on the recommendations later this year.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Angela Ward, Nurse Consultant Medical Programs, (202) 366-4001,, FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Room W64-224, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Related stories:
FMCSA withdraws April 19 sleep apnea proposal
Language of MCSAC / Medical Review Board recommended apnea guidelines — more from D.C.
FMCSA group eyes sleep apnea regs
FMCSA meeting to address sleep apnea



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