Trump DOT nixes sleep apnea rulemaking, bumps speed limiter mandate

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Updated Jul 30, 2017

Correction: An earlier version of this story said FMCSA’s rulemaking regarding sleep apnea screening protocol was still in progress and proceeding. However, a note buried within the DOT’s regulatory report marks the rule as withdrawn in June. Therefore, the rule is not proceeding until FMCSA restarts the rulemaking process. Overdrive regrets the error. As noted below, the speed limiter mandate has been moved to a long-term action item.

Despite hot action in recent years on a speed limiter mandate, the DOT has formally moved the rulemaking to a long-term agenda item, likely making it a nonstarter under the Trump administration.Despite hot action in recent years on a speed limiter mandate, the DOT has formally moved the rulemaking to a long-term agenda item, likely making it a nonstarter under the Trump administration.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, as expected under the Trump administration, has signaled it will not continue to pursue a rulemaking to mandate the use of speed limiters in the trucking industry, at least any time soon.

In its latest biannual update to its regulatory calendar, the DOT has moved the speed limiter mandate, which was issued as a proposed rulemaking last September, to a long-term agenda item, away from the active rulemakings list. Given the erosion of industry support for a speed limiter rule over the past year and the Trump administration’s reluctance to implement new regulations, industry stakeholders assumed the Trump DOT would drop or stall the speed limiter rulemaking.

Thursday’s update to the DOT calendar confirmed those expectations.

The DOT report also marked the ongoing sleep apnea screening rulemaking as withdrawn sometime in June, though the report didn’t specify a date. The rulemaking regarding sleep apnea screening for truck operators would establish protocol for which truck drivers would be required to be tested for obstructive sleep apnea during the medical certification process. The DOT did not indicate when it would attempt to pursue such a rule, if at all.

“FMCSA has determined there is not enough information available to support moving forward with a rulemaking action and so the rulemaking will be withdrawn,” the report reads.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Advisory Board last year issued recommendations to guide the agency in developing the rule. See its recommendations for which drivers could be required to be tested for sleep apnea at this link.

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