Trucker Bob Stanton on sleep apnea, fatigue research and bringing researchers, regulators into the truck

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Updated Nov 23, 2018

“Oh my God, I’m one of them, I’ve got it! I have the scarlet A on my forehead!” –Trucker Bob Stanton somewhat facetiously opening his presentation on apnea to the regulators, researchers and transportation professionals (very few drivers, if any other than himself) attending the International conference on managing fatigue in San Diego last month.

Truck driver and Truckers for a Cause cofounder Bob Stanton was a refreshing voice during a session on the first full day of a conference on fatigue research last month. You may recall a couple stories that emerged from the conference, which I attended for two days ahead of the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. During the session, featuring a series of presentations on the research and the reality of sleep disorders and their relation to fatigue and health, Stanton outlined several of the challenges truckers face in treating apnea with nighttime use of a CPAP machine in-cab. He likewise offered a timeline for and reasoning behind the muddled approach to guidance on apnea screening that has henceforth been the norm from FMCSA — and the backlash from industry as a result, now requiring notice-and-comment rulemaking for any further apnea-related regulatory action after a somewhat miraculous occurrence in these times, a near-unanimous 2013 Congressional vote amid furor over a threatened government shutdown.

In a session which also included an apnea research literature review from a rep of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute — she spoke of “needed mandates” for diagnostic testing among drivers seemingly simply for mandates’ potential value to research — Stanton was a welcome voice of reality and reason, and most definitely a standout among the crowd.

Speaking of going where you’re not exactly expected to be — in the video above Stanton makes reference to this warning sign on his GPS unit. His rig sat throughout the conference outside the Westin in San Diego’s downtown Gaslamp district. Yeah, he helped out the hotel’s valet a bit …Speaking of going where you’re not exactly expected to be — in the video above Stanton makes reference to this warning sign on his GPS unit. His rig sat throughout the conference outside the Westin in San Diego’s downtown Gaslamp district. Yeah, he helped out the hotel’s valet a bit …

He also invited conference attendees into his sleeper, parked out in front of the hotel where the conference took place, at the end of the second day of the event for in-cab tours and his own version of what sleep scientists refer to as “good sleep hygiene,” creating optimal conditions for effective, restorative sleep. Not always easy in a truck, but of course.

Read more about Stanton and his Truckers for a Cause sleep apnea support group via this link to our past coverage of some of the issues surrounding sleep apnea. And via the video above take a tour through his own history with the condition and his efforts to engage the trucking, research and regulatory communities to good effect for drivers.

For more from the fatigue conference, follow these links:

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