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FMCSA Closes Comment Period on OSA Proposal

FMCSA Closes Comment Period on OSA Proposal

FMCSA Closes Comment Period on OSA Proposal

The period for public comments on the recent sleep apnea proposal has been closed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The proposal, which would make obstructive sleep apnea testing mandatory for all truck drivers, may result in a new law being proposed by the US Department of Transportation.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition which causes the airway to close during sleep for 10 seconds or more. This condition leads to breathing difficulties which can cause a person to wake up constantly. This condition is particularly problematic for its ability to cause exhaustion in those who suffer from it. Given that tired truckers can be at a higher risk for accidents, many safety groups are in favor of mandatory testing.

This type of concern is compounded significantly by the fact that research suggests over a quarter of commercial truck drivers suffer from some form of mild sleep apnea. In 2014, it was determined that fatigue contributed to over 300,000 accidents, 2 percent of which were fatal.

While sleep apnea is a scary condition, especially for those who have an occupation like truck driving, the condition is very treatable with the proper equipment. Truck drivers have historically been at higher risk for health issues like sleep apnea, and many claim that mandatory testing would be a good thing for this very reason.

While some trucking groups have been accused of blocking legislation requiring testing in an effort to get longer work weeks out of drivers, others believe that this type of testing is overkill. It remains to be seen whether the current deliberation on the issue will result in a new law being passed.

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