FMCSA withdraws sleep apnea proposal

For the Record

After announcing its April 19 proposal to adopt recommendations from two of its advisory committees, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration the same day withdrew the proposal, saying it is “still in the process of carefully reviewing the recommendations,” and that “the initial publication was a clerical error.”

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board recommended to FMCSA to tell medical examiners that drivers with a body mass index of 35 or more should be evaluated for sleep apnea.

The recommendations also provide situations that should lead to immediate disqualification of a driver, such as a fatigue-related crash or falling asleep at the wheel, pending evaluation and treatment for sleep apnea. A medical examiner may approve a 60-day conditional card during evaluation and treatment.

The MCSAC and the MRB operate in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. At the agency’s request, the committees deliberated and provided their finalized recommendations to FMCSA on Feb. 6. Both groups see the recommendations as the next step toward a rulemaking.

FMCSA initially proposed to adopt the recommendations as regulatory guidance after reviewing and evaluating comments received from the public. The agency has said it anticipates requesting public comment later this year.

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