Trucking industry will keep existing sleep apnea rule

Truck drivers in Connecticut and throughout the country will not be subject to new criteria and testing regarding sleep apnea after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced it would no longer be pursuing a proposed rule. In March 2016, the FMCA had published a pre-rule seeking input from industry and advisory committees. Among the recommendations were that drivers with a 40 or higher BMI or drivers with a 33 or higher BMI who had other risk factors should be screened for the disorder.

However, these guidelines would have led to up to 40 percent of drivers being screened for the condition at considerable cost to carriers and to drivers themselves. The protocol as issued in January 2015 by the FMCA says that drivers should be referred by medical examiners if those examiners believe the driver is at risk for sleep apnea. The drawback of this approach is that there is no consistent screening protocol for the condition. This could lead to unnecessary referrals and confusion.

There was some confusion as to whether the rule would be withdrawn and when. However, on Aug. 4, the FMCA said that on August 7, the rule would be withdrawn officially.

Unfortunately, truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel is a serious danger whether that drowsiness is caused by sleep apnea or happens for some other reason. Accidents may happen for other reasons as well that are the fault of the driver, the trucking company or even a manufacturer. Serious injuries may result from an accident with a truck, and the driver and the driver’s employer may be financially liable. However, an injured person might still struggle to get the amount of compensation needed to pay medical expenses. A person who is injured in a truck accident might want to talk to an attorney about the options available.