On October 1, 2015 the US Department of Transportation published its Monthly Report of Significant Rulemaking. In that report, DOT published an announcement that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) were planning to jointly publish an advanced notice of proposed rule making (ANPRM) on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The documents Numbered 47 and 55 are entitled, “Medical Certification of Transportation Workers in Safety Sensitive Positions; Individuals Exhibiting Risk Factors for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.”
In DOT’s October report, they announce that the FMCSA/FRA ANPRM is to gather data and information on the prevalence of moderate-to-severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the economic impact and the safety benefits of a rule making on obstructive sleep apnea.
The publication schedule for the ANPRM is December 11, 2015 with the close of the comment period being February, 2016.
So what does this mean for the transportation industry? for truckers? if this a concern? Will FMCSA be issuing a rule of OSA imminently?
In my opinion, the Agencies issuing a request for data and more information is a good thing. It is an opportunity for truckers and others in the industry to get involved in the rule-making — to become active.
The Agency is asking for information and data — They want to gather information on whether or not this regulations would have too high an economic burden? Or, if it would be have an important safety impact — They want to develop an evidence-based regulation, if they decide to do one. They want to know facts.
So drivers, if you have information about the cost of OSA testing and treatment and how it affects you, plan to participate and respond to the request for information. Drivers, carriers, safety advocates, law enforcement, researchers, if you have information on the safety impact of a rule on OSA, participate in the rule-making.
The purpose of an ANPRM is to notify the public that the Agency(ies) are
1) considering a rule making and
2) are requesting information on the topic that the Agency(ies) can utilize in their deliberations. So, Comments that are most helpful are those that give substantive information to help the Agency make its decision.
Does requesting information and data mean the OSA rule is imminent?
NO, not at all.
Once the Agencies get the information they may decide not to pursue it any further. A new President may not want to pursue this subject. It may not be part of his/her Agenda. There are lots of processes involved. This is the first step and an important one for all of us. We don’t want regulations to be developed based on a whim. The FRA and FMCSA are taking responsible steps to ensure that whatever direction they take it will be based on the most recent data and information. The best way for them to make their decision is get a lot of comments, including lots of data and information from a wide range of people in the regulated community.
So keep informed and participate!
© 2015, Elaine Papp. All rights reserved.