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Legal Blog

New Bill Would Require Sleep Apnea Rule for Truckers

Congressional Democrats are calling for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to implement a new bill that would require a sleep apnea rule for truckers. The rule, which would mandate that truck drivers to be tested for obstructive sleep apnea, was initiated by FMCSA and later set aside by the agency. Currently, truck drivers are told to rely upon the advice of their primary care physicians. The FMCSA says that if these doctors think the drivers need further sleep testing, they can make the referral.

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a trucking accident, call the Houston truck accident attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500.

Rule Would Provide Understanding of Sleep Apnea Criteria

The FMCSA actually began fleshing out this rule over a year ago. They spoke to members of the Medical Advisory Board and partners in the trucking industry to gather suggestions and opinions on the rule’s requirements. The idea was to provide clarity about a list of criteria that would require truckers get tested for obstructive sleep apnea to doctors, truckers, and trucking companies.

Advisors to the FMCSA provided suggestions about these criteria. They recommended that truck drivers with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more should automatically be tested. Drivers with a BMI of 33 would be recommended for a screening if they met three other factors such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • History of stroke or heart disease
  • A male being of age of 42 years or older
  • Loud snoring

Using this list, the FMCSA could provide an understanding to drivers and their doctors when a trucker would need to be tested and treated for obstructive sleep apnea.

Renewed Focus

The FMCSA abruptly set aside the bill, claiming that after their year of work they discovered there was not enough data gathered that showed the rule was necessary.

Congressional Democrats disagree. Obstructive sleep apnea is different than traditional sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea causes people to abruptly fall asleep even while they are in the middle of a task, such as driving a truck or a train. For example, in November 2016, a train conductor afflicted with obstructed sleep apnea crashed his train into a crowded station, causing over 100 injuries.

Reports like this and other accounts of affected drivers who cause dangerous wrecks were enough for Democrats to get the ball rolling again. To them, the bill is necessary both to do away with any confusion behind seeking a sleep apnea diagnosis for truck drivers, and to put an end to deadly and preventable accidents.

Talk to a Houston Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were hurt in a truck accident due to another driver’s careless actions, you need to find reliable legal help for your case. For decades, the truck accident attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have helped a number of people in similar situations get the compensation they deserve for problems like:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical pain
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of wages

To speak to one of our experienced lawyers about your case, contact us online or call us at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a no-cost consultation.