Dig Deeper on Sleep Apnea

In the May issue of Truckers News you had a short article titled “Obesity Linked to Sleep Apnea in Drivers,” which quoted Dr. Philip Parks on several points.

In the May issue of Truckers News you had a short article titled “Obesity Linked to Sleep Apnea in Drivers,” which quoted Dr. Philip Parks on several points.

“Truck drivers with sleep apnea have up to a seven-fold increased risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.” This statement is not supported by studies done on commercial motor vehicle operators. Most of the research finding an increased risk of crash has been done on the general driving population. Of the few studies done on truck drivers one literature review found two out of three studies showed truck drivers to not have increased crash rates. One FMCSA technical review of Dr. Parks’ work found “no statistical correlation to support the hypothesis of a link between sleep apnea and increased crash risk.”

The actual study referred to in your article involved drivers who went to an occupational health clinic for their DOT physical. Without being asked or given a chance to not participate in the study they were given a more rigorous screening for sleep apnea than DOT regulations require. More than half failed and were required to get a $2,000 sleep study before being given a medical certificate. The study did not look at accident rates in any way. The study was a “field test” of a more rigorous screening policy for sleep apnea. The researchers did not even fund or offer assistance in getting sleep apnea testing to the drivers who were “flunked” on their DOT medical exam as part of the study. About half the drivers flunked were new hires who did not yet have medical insurance coverage.

With the ongoing debate about requiring testing for sleep apnea as part of the DOT medical exam, I would hope an industry publication such as Truckers News would do a better job providing a balanced article on the topic.
Bob Stanton
Batavia, Ill.

Save yourself a headache
I am writing to remind truckers or make them aware if they don’t already know how crucial it is to know what is on your DAC report. My husband recently lost his job after seven years with his employer. We knew times were tough, but with only two jobs in the last 12 years we didn’t think it would take long to find new employment. Boy, were we wrong! We had not seen a copy of his report since 2002 when hired by the previous employer. It now contains a misdemeanor from Virginia for a person with the same first and last name and birth date. The middle name and Social Security Number don’t match. But it is still on his record. Now we are in dispute with HireRight (formerly USIS), which could take up to a month to get the bad info off. Meanwhile he has applied for numerous jobs and has been turned down. Now we wait and hope they will give a second chance when this is done. A report is only $10 and could be very beneficial to you before you actually need one.

Another thing I would like to add is even if you leave your job on good terms make sure you are supplied with your accident record. We have four different accounts on paper that his previous employer is giving out. We are also trying to get them to provide a clear and accurate account of his record. Trucking is hard enough without all these other outside influences making it harder. Watch out for yourselves.
Lorraine Jones
Rome, N.Y.

Women drivers not wanted
A recent article on the front page of eTrucker.com was entitled “Women in Trucking Encouraged.” All I can say about that is horse hockey! I have two years’ experience – 1.8 years pulling a 53-foot reefer unit. I’ve been unemployed since December 2008! I’m a female. No one wants an experienced truck driver, especially one that is female.

I’m intelligent, have a high school diploma, a two-year college degree, a certificate in word processing and a certificate of completion for truck-driving school. I even wrote a letter to an operations manager at one company in an effort to get on one of their dedicated lines, and to date I have not received any response. I do know how to type a professional-looking letter. I’ve received several e-mail notifications from indeed.com saying this company is “targeting” different careers in an effort to entice workers to go from the job they presently have and come work for them. They even ask for experienced drivers. Yet when I respond, I don’t get any reply. The trucking industry is not interested in hiring experienced women drivers!
Bonnie Christiansen
Pasco, Wash.

Truckers need healthy examples
This letter is my response to the three letters to the editor concerning truckers’ health found in April’s issue. First of all, to Wendy Rehdorf, might I recommend she preview my video on YouTube, found under Truckers-fitness-exercise. It’s short and to the point – and funny.

I am somewhat disappointed with your magazine for it seems you’ve discontinued your monthly health and wellness feature. All humans, not only truckers, need constant encouragement and examples to draw from as they regularly have to battle bad habits (overeating, smoking, lack of exercise). We also have to deal with stress, fatigue and frustration on a daily basis brought on by unreasonable dispatchers, shippers, receivers, enforcement agencies, commuter traffic, economics and family matters.

Having positive examples/role models to inspire and motivate us along the way, albeit monthly (it needs to be consistent), will eventually generate the desired effect, just as the antismoking campaigns over these last decades have done.

Please reintroduce your wellness feature along with the monthly fitness “hero” to champion the cause. Otherwise, very quickly, people like me become an anomaly/aberration, a mere curiosity within the industry. Trust me. I see and hear it happening all the time.
As for the Rollin’ Strong truckers gyms, I was a regular day-member right from its onset.

More often than not, I found myself working out all alone. Even today, should such a venture/enterprise be re-established, there is no doubt in my mind it would go the same way as its predecessor. And yes, I was brokenhearted when they went into bankruptcy. Shortly after their demise, I began to gain the weight I would eventually have to lose over a three-year struggle. But I did it, and I now maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Should any of your readers who are interested in exercise/health issues be interested in contacting me (preferably after seeing my video) they can at [email protected]. As I am also an over-the-road trucker-O/O, my response time leaves something to be desired. Sorry ’bout that, but it’s a trucker thing!
Alfy R.E. Meyer
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

How high will diesel prices go this summer?
what are the contributing factors?

“I’m not sure how high it will go, but I hope it isn’t like last year. The main reason for the spike is greed. Those that supply us with diesel know that America uses more of it than most other countries, and they charge us higher because of it.”
– Pete Butler

“The price will be the same as last year. I don’t look in-depth into why the price increases. I’m a company driver, and they pay the gas. I just drive.”
– Sam Allman

“It might get as high as $3 but no more. The price is high right now because it’s the summer, and everyone wants to travel and spend more. Also if people think the economy is improving they will spend more, which will make prices increase.”
– Julius Brown

Do you think the economy is improving?
Via Twitter:
We all must stay positive about the whole transportation biz, things have to get better. Owning four trucks myself, all of it hurts.
– @BigRigGals

My husband says yes, he thinks it is improving. It is a slow improvement. There is no decline in trucks on the road since November.
– @lynn382003

You want to know if the economy is improving – it can’t be!