Government Considers Mandatory Sleep Apnea Testing for Certain Drivers

A March press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Federal Railroad Administration stated that they are gathering input from the public on the impact of screening, evaluating, and treating rail workers and commercial motor vehicle drivers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These agencies are taking this action on the recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Studies estimate that over 22 million individuals could be suffering from undiagnosed OSA, which is a respiratory disorder that involves a reduction or cessation of breathing while sleeping. OSA also can cause an individual to inadvertently fall asleep and suffer from deficits in attention, concentration, memory, and ability to safely avoid or handle hazards. One result of this increased government focus on OSA is the recommendation that doctors or other healthcare professionals who measure the physical qualifications for individuals seeking to become commercial vehicle drivers should refer those individuals with respiratory issues for further evaluation and treatment. In order to qualify prospective drivers, healthcare professionals must be listed on the agency’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

The federal government will continue to solicit and receive public feedback on the possibility of mandatory OSA screening and treatment for commercial truckers, bus drivers, and railroad workers through July 8, 2016. Although sleep experts laud the suggestions as essential to promote public safety and the wellbeing of commercial operators, other associations have criticized the proposal, citing insufficient evidence between OSA and higher rates of commercial vehicle crashes and the high costs of sleep apnea testing. The U.S. government has not decided, or at least not made public, whether the proposed screenings would apply to existing drivers, or whether the screening would affect a prospective driver’s ability to get a job.

Regardless of the issues that led to the motor vehicle crash that harmed you or your family member, you may very well have a personal injury claim under Wisconsin law. Call Boller & Vaughan today at (608) 268-0268, or contact us online at www.bollervaughan.com in order to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Wisconsin personal injury lawyers. Don’t give up on your losses without a fight for what you deserve from those responsible for your injuries.