Federal Sleep Apnea Proposal Aims to Make Trucking Safer

September 6, 2016  |  Serious Accidents

Fatigued driving is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Now the agency is trying to do something to reduce the problem by proposing rules to screen commercial drivers for sleep apnea.

A Major Problem

The FMCSA and other agencies have been taking a close look at how sleep apnea can lead to trucking accidents for several years. One accident shined a particularly bright light on the problem. It occurred in 2000 when a tractor-trailer hit a Tennessee Highway Patrol car, killing the trooper who was driving. The truck driver had been diagnosed with sleep apnea, which was ruled to be a contributing factor to the accident. A 90-day period was put into effect in March to gather public comment on the proposed screening rules.

However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), asked for the deadline for public comments to be extended to July 8. The OOIDA is concerned that drivers have to pay steep out-of-pocket expenses for sleep apnea testing. For those who test positive and have to wear equipment at night to help them sleep soundly, the cost could be as much as $12,000, according to the OOIDA.

This and other factors will have to be taken into account when determining the most equitable way to implement the rules. But momentum for the proposal continues to grow as government and industry officials look for ways to make our country’s roads as safe as possible.

While we appreciate the work that is being done to increase trucking safety, the unavoidable fact is that far too many accidents take place on a regular basis. Baron & Budd may be able to help if you or a loved one has been hurt or killed due to a trucking accident. Please complete our contact form or call 866-236-9479 for a confidential consultation.

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