By Allen Smith
In a meeting yesterday, May 12th, 2010, the FMCSA began discussions on the concerns of fatigue on truck drivers. Citing that fatigue is a major problem among truckers, it was also noted that the medical condition, sleep apnea, is a major contributor to fatigue. The FMCSA and the National Sleep Foundation have initiated an awareness campaign called “Get on the Road to Better Health: Recognizing the Dangers of Sleep Apnea.”
While the final plans for sleep apnea testing for truck drivers play out, present discussion is pointing to the possibilities of having drivers tested for the condition, who have a body mass index of 30 or higher. The FMCSA is wanting testing done when a driver’s BMI is at least 30, while the Sleep Apnea Medical Expert Panel is recommending testing at the 33 level. Although a date for the new requirements have not been announced, it is noted that there are still much needed discussion on how to handle various aspects of the proposed initiative. One aspect being who exactly will be responsible for paying for the testing : the trucking company or the truck driver? Don Osterberg, Senior V. P. of safety for Schneider National points out that the total cost for sleep apnea testing will run around $3500, with about $2,000 for the sleep study and $1,500 for the equipment.
As per our previous post from July 14th, 2009 on the future of sleep apnea testing for truckers, talks are in the works again for truckers to face another regulation in relationship to trucking safety. As a concerned driver, you can check your BMI to see where you would stand in this issue.
Although the roll-out date is still in question, R. Clay Porter, a partner at Dennis, Corry, Porter & Smith, LLP, pointed out that while sleep apnea has not yet become a major player in the realm of truck litigation, he also said that it is “going to be part of this legal landscape sooner rather than later.”
© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.