Scuttling of Sleep Apnea Screening Proposal Draws Heated Reactions

News and commentary were widespread with reactions to the administration's move to halt progress on a proposal that would have required sleep apnea screening for truck drivers and train engineers

August 2017, - Feature

by Jack Roberts, Senior Editor - Also by this author

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News reports on the Trump adminstration's move to halt a sleep apnea rule for truck drivers were mostly negative in their coveragePhoto: Volvo Group
News reports on the Trump adminstration's move to halt a sleep apnea rule for truck drivers were mostly negative in their coverage. Photo: Volvo Group

The Trump administration's decision to halt progress on a sleep apnea screening and alleviation rule for truck drivers earlier this month sent shock waves through the trucking industry and the country at large. Reaction to the decision was decidedly mixed, with numerous commenters decrying the move as a serious safety issue with potentially disastrous consequences for the motoring public. Others zeroed in on the political implications of the Trump administration’s move, while still others felt the regulation was a burdensome overreach that would have hurt productivity.

The bulk of news and opinion pieces presented the news as negative or controversial in nature, with many of the articles focusing on the public safety aspect of the rule and questioning whether fleets and individuals could be counted on to take adequate steps on their own to keep tired drivers off the road.

Here are some of the more interesting and controversial takeaways from around the country (and globe):

One America News Network: “The Former President’s Needless Rules”

The conservative news outlet One America News posted video of truck drivers celebrating the decision to halt progress on a sleep apnea rule and outlining why they feel it is not needed. “Hysteria Ensues” as “Obscure” Regulation is Blocked

The blog, which supports “free minds and free markets,” suggested the onslaught of negative press in the wake of the decision was the “regulatory deep state, fighting tooth and nail to preserve and expand its power in the face of Trump's deregulatory push.”

The Hill: Sleep Apnea Decision “Ignites Safety Debate”

The Hill reports on Congress and federal-level regulatory issues and presented both sides of the issues fairly in its reporting on move to halt progress on a sleep apnea rule.

Fox Business: “Experts: Lives Are At Risk”

Fox News and its associated news outlets are usually reliably in President’s Trump’s corner and adamantly anti-regulation and red tape. This eyebrow-raising headline aside, Fox Business was notably neutral in its assessment of the sleep apnea decision and mainly focused on the train engineer aspect of the rule. 

The Daily Mail: “Safety Experts Outraged” by Sleep Apnea Decision

News on the Trump Administration’s decision reached overseas to the U.K., where one of its leading newspapers say it could “put millions of lives at risk.”

North “A Short-Sighted Move That Puts Profits Over Safety”

Hoboken, New Jersey, was the scene of a horrific commuter train crash just last year. Because of that, a slew of editorials from the Garden State were staunchly opposed to the dropping of the proposed sleep apnea rule.

Ashbury Park Press: “Lawmakers Should Defy Trump” on Sleep Apnea Decision

A letter to the editor in New Jersey’s Ashbury Park Press echoed a similar theme, suggesting that President Trump’s decision was based solely on undoing any position  taken by the Obama administration.

New York Daily News: Trump Administration Decision “Will Risk Lives”

The New York Daily News, which has a long-running contentious relationship with President Trump, said the current administration is “asleep at the switch” when it comes to public safety.

El Dorado News-Times: Sleep Apnea Decision Evidence of “Ever-Shrinking Piece of Common Ground"

A journalist for this small Arkansas newspaper saw the Trump administration’s sleep apnea move in the context of the larger debate between regulations and overreach.


  1. 1. Terry Rafter [ August 15, 2017 @ 11:15AM ]

    And one wonders why there are no school bus drivers.
    Part time job and thousands of dollars for a sleep apnea test.

  2. 2. Marvin [ August 16, 2017 @ 04:45AM ]

    All this bitching about the Trump administration for taking one small portion of the overload placed on the trucking industries back. That's hard to understand! It's almost like we're not going to be happy until the government controls everything.

  3. 3. Bob Stanton [ August 16, 2017 @ 03:15PM ]

    What's worse is.... Fmcsa is still planning on issuing guidance on sleep apnea. Just bypassing the formal rulemaking. Exactly what Congress told them not to do in 2013 through public law 113-45

  4. 4. Joe Bisby [ August 19, 2017 @ 09:43AM ]

    All it takes is a couple of larger firms to take the lead and have the screening done as a condition for employment. If they market their safety program others may follow. Those who can't or won't test will have to deal will lawyers and plaintiffs galore


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