Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

otr truckingPoliticsSafetyTruck Driving JobsTruckers HealthTruckingtrucking companies

Will Sleep Apnea Test be New Regulation for Trucking?


By: Allen Smith

Sleep Apnea TestThere may be a new regulation coming for the trucking industry.  If so, this new requirement could effect as many as 3.9 million licensed commercial truck drivers, according to a recent study by the Cambridge Health Alliance.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Each episode, called an apnea, lasts long enough so that one or more breaths are missed, and such episodes occur repeatedly throughout sleep.  Clinically significant levels of sleep apnea are defined as five or more episodes per hour of any type of apnea.  There are three distinct forms of sleep apnea:  central, obstructive and complex ( a combination of central and obstructive).  Regardless of type, the individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening.   Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or a Sleep Study.  This “Sleep Study” may be the laying foundation for the new trucking regulation.

Truckers with severe sleep apnea or who sleep less than five hours a night are more likely to experience sleepiness and impaired ability while driving, one study concluded.  Furthermore, studies have shown that obesity is the most significant risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea.   Over 60% of adult Americans  are categorized as being overweight.  Each year obesity causes at least three hundred thousand deaths in the United States.  The statistics are even worse for truckers.

Studies show that approximately 73% of drivers are overweight and more than 50% are obese.   Because of these statistics, another aspect for the possible new regulation will be a required BMI test for truck drivers.  BMI ( Body Mass Index) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women.  It is calculated by four different categories:

  1. BMI of 18.5 or less = Underweight
  2. 18.5 – 24.9 = Normal Weight
  3. 25 – 29.9 = Overweight
  4. 30 or greater = Obesity

As an example, an adult male who is 5′ 10″ tall and weighs 220 pounds, would calculate out with a BMI reading of 31.6, thus being regarded as obese.  An adult woman who is 5′ 8″ tall and weighs 150 pounds, would calculate out at 22.8 BMI, being regarded as normal weight.   You can calculate your BMI to see where you would fit in, if this was already a regulation for truckers.

Being discussed on the grounds of safety, sleep apnea testing, along with BMI calculations, is becoming more of a possibility as a new trucking regulation.  Even though this condition is completely treatable and reversible, I have heard from one source that one trucking company has said that they expect to lose 20% of their current drivers if this does become a regulation.   We have learned that many trucking companies are in a silent “panic mode” right now, and plan to either ask new driver applicants to take the sleep test, as well as considering current drivers in their employment to have the testing performed also.

Other factors which may be considered before someone could become a professional truck driver are:

  • High blood pressure testing
  • Their pattern of sleep
  • Neck size
  • Age

Their is a lot of underground talking going on about the problem of sleep apnea and obesity.   Don’t be surprised if this new testing soon becomes a new regulation for the trucking industry and our nation’s truck drivers.

UPDATE: Read our updated post from May 13th, 2010 –Sleep apnea testing coming soon for truck drivers.


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

View all posts by Allen Smith →

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

33 Responses to Will Sleep Apnea Test be New Regulation for Trucking?. - Post a Comment

  1. […] If so, this new requirement could effect as many as 3.9 million licensed commercial … Daily […]

  2. Eric G.

    There’s this as well to determine whether or not one needs a sleep study:

    I took such a written test at a Trucking company last year and since I didn’t LIE like so many Drivers stated, after the fact, I should have done, I was put on a Medical hold and subsequently refused for being hired until I satiated the hold requirements. I tried to satiate the requirements yet I REFUSE to have any related surgery nor shall I have a CPAP machine. My wife had a CPAP machine at home one time to assist with sleeping (she wasn’t a Driver anywhere) yet the NOISE and the Nose intrusions kept her more awake than asleep.
    I could not sleep anywhere near it and one thinks a reefer is loud, sheesh.
    I’ll not be driving anymore if this sleep apnea initiative becomes a law or other worded requirement for Drivers.
    If this initiative becomes a requirement just to acquire a Class A License or to retain one then I’ll be sacrificing mine.

    People have been snoring since Humanity began yet now it’s a problem??
    With the new or newest H.O.S. rules and the No Parking everywhere rules, and the LACK of available parking in many areas of this country especially at Night, Sleep Apnea rules/laws will eliminate so many Drivers that only a select portion will be available and Trucking as we know it now will quickly be reduced to a select group.

    When the government steps in to regulate something it generally gets regulated into oblivion. Such will be Trucking.

    I Hope the Best for current and future Drivers whichever route they choose.

  3. Allen Smith

    Thanks for the article Eric. I did read it and it definitely adds some interesting twists to the “importance of fatigue in relation to sleep apnea and fatal accidents”

    Sleep Apnea is real and this condition does exist. However, like so many other issues in life, you have to ask:

    Is this serious condition being exploited for the gain of others?
    If so, who?

  4. […] Will Sleep Apnea Testing be the Next Trucking Regulation … […]

  5. Hollie B. Spruill ~truckinggirl

    I cannot stand this whole Sleep Apnea BS! It is only becoming an issue so someone’s brother-in-law can make a buck off of an honest mans/woman’s work. I hope truckers will stand up to this BS an say no more. I think Americans take their privacy for granted and this is getting in to my private life. Truckers are just dollar signs for these pathetic people to prey on.

  6. Allen Smith

    Sleep Apnea can be a very serious condition and lead to severe safety issues, but I agree that like most things, there is a “buck” to be made somewhere in many of the not-so-serious conditions. But, there is more to come . . .

  7. Greg McDermand

    Eric and Steve, Sleep apnea is a very serious condition, i know first hand i was diagnosed 10 years ago. Cpap therapy has quite literally saved my life. the latest study reports that nightly bouts of uninterrupted, oxygen deprived sleep raise the chances of dying in middle-aged to elderly people by 46 percent. Even people with moderate forms of the sleep disorder, with anywhere from 15 to 30 episodes of interrupted breathing during each hour of supposed rest, the risk of death rises 17 percent!
    That is why i have developed a sleep apnea and treatment program designed especially for the trucking industry. I know time off the road is money lost. Our program uses a goverment approved sleep study the Embletta, which is applied at home or in your cab so that time is not lost off the road. the study is read and interepted by Board Certified Sleep Physicians and if therapy is recommened it is shipped to you with complete video and written instructions on application. The first step in this process is a simple 8 question form, if you score 9 or higher your are at risk, if not the process stops at no cost. The cost of the sleep study is $250.00, if positive therapy is not perscribed you only pay the $250.00. Therapy is provided via an Auto-pap cpap which requires no extra titration study in a lab. The cost of the complete program is $1275.00. This will allow you to renew your CDL when the law passes, keep you on the road during the process and cost you about $4000.00 less than a traditional sleep study in a lab. Yes we make some money from this program however the cost is affordable by most everyone and is designed to keep you working.

  8. Allen Smith

    Thanks for the info Greg. Do you have a website?

  9. Greg McDermand

    Allen, we are working on our website now, hopefully by the end of september however anyone can reach me at 330-565-5798 or and i will be glad to pass along any information they may request.

  10. Terrence Williams

    Our firm has devleoped a new sleep aid. How cn we introduce the product as part of the sleep test for truckers to demonstrate its improved sleep quality for truckers?


  11. Greg McDermand

    Please foward me your information on your product and a way to contact you.

  12. Greg McDermand

    Allen, our website will be up an running on Monday. In light of the new guidelines the just published in October it seems the industry is heading toward mandantory sleep screening. I will be glad to share these proposed guidelines.

  13. Dr. Ethan Hagen

    One of the countries leading sleep clinics started something unorthodox in it’s studies that should be of interest to truckers. They found that in up to 70% of the subjects diagnosed with apnea they could significantly reduce or even stop apnea episodes by training the patient to sleep on his or her side all night. Instead of forcing the people to sleep on thier back like standard sleep clinics do they used a simple belt with a tennis ball pinned to the back of it that effectively trained the person being studied to roll back on thier side every time they tried roll onto thier back. Something about lying on your back while you sleep has been proven to close the airway. Keep this in mind. I hope it helps a bunch of proactive people to save some money and time off work in the near future because often simple solutions are the best but they aren’t sold anywhere!!! Sleep apnea does kill a lot of people and when your a driver it could kill someone else.

  14. Matt

    Does anyone know what is going to be the ruling on truckers who have sleep apnea? What should we suspect going to happen to our careers as a professional driver? I have sleep apnea and it stated on my medical long form, but I do use a cpap machine every night am I going to have to figure out a new profession and leave one I’ve had for 25 yrs. If anyone has this info. please send me an email. Thanks. Matt

  15. Dr. Ethan Hagen

    Matt, If you use a cpap machine and it is controlling your apnea episodes you are way ahead of the game. That is similar to someone with high blood pressure that is stable and properly treated with medication. I think the biggest headaches are going to come to those who have a problem and don’t know where to go to get help for it in a timely and affordable fashion. If I were you I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it!! You are doing exactly what you should.

  16. Allen Smith

    Thanks for tip Doctor … appreciate it.

  17. Allen Smith

    Hi Matt: We are planning a show right now with the FMCSA, tentatively set for March 18th, 2010 … I will be asking the FMCSA officials about this, and you can call in and voice your concerns as well. Stay on top of when the show will be by checking back at:

    Again, March 18th is the tentative date ….

  18. Monica Allen

    Hey , I was researching how a company can remain union free and this came up. I have a husband that is on a sleep machine. It is required by law that he uses it at least 70 percent of the time sleeping. Or he can’t drive! It is the same as high blood pressure. He is on medicine and it is under control. As, long as he is under a controlled medicine. He or anybody else should have any problems with this new regulation. He is required to renew his medical card once a year because of the high blood presssure and sleep apnea.

  19. Allen Smith

    Hi Monica: Yes, I believe that as long as the driver can show the condition is under control, by whatever means, and the ME signs off that the driver is capable of operating the CMV safely, then there should not be a problem.

    However, the trucking company may be able to still deny employment to the driver, based on their own in-placed “policies.” This is where the bigger problem can come in to play.

  20. Monica Allen

    Hi Allen,

    Actually his company Prime Inc. made him do the test. It was one of thier requirements to do this. I am sorry that drivers are being denied emaployment. Sounds to me that is under ADA laws and you can fight something like that. ADA is the american disabilties act of 1993 or 90. If it is a condition which it is classified as a condition that is under doctors care. They , meaning the trucking company can not discriminate against it. Go to and read up on it. I got to school for my bachelors in HR. I know about it.

  21. Tom

    So this does this mean that TAXES are going to go even higher? Ok let’s say we do dump a bunch of drivers on the street without a job and they go to the highest court in the land and say to the people of America (and that means you too Obama) and say I have had this job for XX years and now been discriminated right out the blue and now I have no income because of this discrimination because they say my health is no good does because of the bribes (AKA Lobbing) that congress took I now demand compensation SSI-SSD, retraining, back wages till I and or we get back on my feet or till another non discriminator hires me for either the same line of work (Highly unlikely) or in another line of work also unlikely due to the insurance rate risk that one would undertake if they hired poor lil ol Mr. Truck Driver.
    Bush was smarter and had more compassion than Obama (Obama just signs what ever hits his desk by the way) he signed a bill with big ol teeth making it a crime to discriminate against the disabled so like Bush once said “Bring It ON!!!”.

  22. Allen Smith

    The sleep apnea and BMI testing doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, as far as a new law is concerned. Some trucking companies are voluntarily asking for tests to be done by drivers, but for now, looks like the whole issue of sleep apnea/BMI required testing is still on hold and just in the discussion phase.

  23. fred taylor

    there is a company that will mail the sleep test device to you and you can do the test in your cab or home. Its pretty cheap too. Their website is

  24. Charles Hanna

    This whole sleep apnea thing is just a way of trying to put blame on the drivers health or lack of in order to distract attention away from the real root cause of driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is a direct result of being over worked to meet the requirements of trucking companies desire to satisfy customers and goverment regulations.
    The average driver performs thousands of hours of work related duties without pay trying to just comply with Federal, State County, and City regulations and ordinances!From following mandatory truck routes to having to go unpaid miles out of route to get axle weighed on the nearest public scale and adjusting fith wheels and sliding axles.
    Corporations are getting rich off of the free labor pool that truck drivers provide and are made out by popular media to be the greedy pill poping.40 cpm truck driver that jepordizes public safety.
    The truth is they don’t want to pay us for all the time, labor and services we provide because they profit from it. Corporations want the public to veiw truck drivers as wreckless idiots that need more regulation. 18 wheelers are sweat shops on wheels. If people in a factory was treated the way a truck driver is it would be all over the news about the inhumane work conditions. Truck drivers must organize it is the only way we have a chance in this corupt corporate run country. Thats my two cents
    Charles Hanna

  25. amyohare

    Yep, similar to what Fred said, I think the easiest solution is an at-home sleep test, which is considered to be a qualified substitute to sleep labs. the federal sleep institute can ship it out to you as well. they’re at

  26. mike

    the bmi used is crap. i coach high school wrestling and these athlets are certified for a safe weight to wrestle. (minimum) there is alot more requiered than height and weight.

  27. Jason

    This is really interesting, I know I’m a year late posting but I really enjoyed reading this and was ammused at how much discussion it started. Great article and thanks.

  28. sleep

    We can help the truckers that need to be helped! Let’s see what the FMCSA says?!

  29. sleep

    Sleep Dynamics specializes in the diagnosis and mobile therapeutic treatment of the sleep disorders that lead to workplace exposures such as chronic fatigue, poor performance, failing health, declining morale, accidents, injury, increased healthcare costs, greater risk of liability, and higher liability insurance premiums.

  30. […] To learn more about Sleep Apnea and the Sleep Apnea Exercise system, visit the link on this page. sleep apnea and treatment and {Home Cures|Natural Home Remedies} can help you cure or greatly reduce…t and not many individuals, medical doctors included, understand that specific exercise movements […]

  31. leeuniverse

    The regulation is HERE…. and I can’t get a job because of it.
    Damn liberals and their “regulations”!!! I’m a perfectly fit and healthy person, who has been pre-hired, but now they won’t hire me until I get the sleep apnea test, which costs some $2,000…. Who has $2,000 to spare??? My physical has shown me to be in perfect health, simply overweight. I have no sleeping problems, I even answered a questionnaire related to sleep. They checked my breathing, etc. etc. I show NO SIGNS of sleep apnea, yet the scumbag liberals usurp the authority of a doctor, and FORCE me to still get a sleep apnea test simply because I’m fat. I have two weeks left in my unemployment, I already couldn’t get hired for a job because as an Office Professional, I’m not a woman, and many weren’t also hiring me because I’m fat. And now the GOVERNMENT is discriminating against me, because I’m poor and fat???

    When are people going to learn to get liberals out of power? They are destroying this country.

    I’m going to be homeless likely in 2 weeks, and it’s all because of this regulation.

  32. leeuniverse

    One other thing…. Drivers falling asleep hasn’t been because of sleep apnea, it’s been because they simply don’t get enough sleep and are doing a boring job. The correlation that skinny people don’t fall asleep but the fat people do is a false correlation. People that tend to get fat tend to have other problems occurring, and also a susceptibility to being overweight, all which stems from using food for pleasure from pain and to try and keep from being tired. In other words, people that are overweight tend to have other problems and not getting the sleep they need, and thus are more prone to falling asleep. It has nothing to do with Sleep Apnea. Falling asleep due to actual sleep apnea is minimal, compared to what the actual causes of falling asleep are.

What do you have to say about this?

To the top