Safety & Compliance

House Committee to Vote on Sleep Apnea Bill

September 17, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee scheduled a Thursday vote on a bill that would compel the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to write a regulation covering sleep disorders rather than issue a guidance.

The bill introduced by Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., says the agency must go through the rulemaking process to regulate sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.

The agency is working on a guidance to medical examiners regarding sleep disorders, but trucking interests insist that a formal rule is needed to give employers a clear statement of their legal responsibilities.

A spokesman for the T&I Committee said that if the measure passes it will be reported to the full House for action.

“The bill is a good government measure,” said Justin Harclerode. “It doesn’t address whether or not there should be any regulation changes – it simply requires that any proposed regulatory changes follow the rulemaking process.”

The bill is likely to be approved by the committee and taken up by the House, but it is not clear if the Senate will do the same, said one insider who could not speak on the record.




  1. 1. Stormy [ September 18, 2013 @ 03:15AM ]

    I have NEVER seen anyone who had a sleep apnea test not be diagnosed with sleep apnea. Why not stop with new regs and work on reports that are supposed to be submitted now. FMCSA is throwing around so many changes so fast I can't keep up with all of them. Nobody can. And all the money being spent to justify Anne Ferro 's job could be used for rebuilding the roads. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and too much is miserable. Give it a break?!!

  2. 2. Bob [ September 18, 2013 @ 04:36AM ]

    The test is crazy to a point think of it this way you are use to sleeping in a bunk or at home comfortable. Put yourself in a strange bed strange place wires hooked up all over and told when to sleep (no way will anyone sleep like they do under normal circumstances....

  3. 3. Mr T [ September 18, 2013 @ 08:04AM ]

    I can tell you from experience that while sleeping in a test center is odd and difficult, and I have done it two times in the past 20 years, it does provide the information they need to setup a person with a CPAP and give them their life back. I used my CPAP while driving and my productivity improved almost instantly. It is one of the easiest medical treatments I have ever used and it is totally portable anymore. Do not be scared by this but embrace it. If you are a massive snorer or the kind of person who wakes up multiple times in the night, you probably have OSA. Get your life back and see the doctor!

  4. 4. Dana [ September 18, 2013 @ 08:39AM ]

    In-lab tests can be difficult for the reasons you stated, but you can ask for and get a "Home Sleep Test" as an alternative. HSTs allow you to be tested while sleeping at home, a hotel, or your cab. These tests are also easier to schedule, vs. waiting for an open bed in a sleep lab. Why is this important? People with untreated sleep apnea are 3-7 times more likely to crash, and CPAP treatment eliminates that added risk factor.
    Many sleep tests do in fact come out negative, but once a person is screened as likely to have sleep because of the "typical symptoms" identified by the FMCSA in the April Guidelines release (any two: neck >= 17", BMI >= 30, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease), they are about 85% likely to have sleep apnea. That "no-cost" screening rate accuracy is much higher than for most other health problems.
    Mr. T,
    Thanks for sharing your positive experience. We've treated hundreds of drivers who went on to lose significant weight, and decrease their hypertension and chronic fatigue. Several drivers have told us that treatment literally saved their lives based on the improved alertness alone. At any rate, concerns over the convenience of testing is not an excuse to avoid treating a life threatening health condition that doubles the chance for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
    Drive safe

  5. 5. Dick [ September 18, 2013 @ 03:36PM ]

    I was one of the 1st. to be asked by my employeer, Averitt express. It was nearly 7 years ago. at the time i thought it was just bull, but after the test, and me getting over being bull headed, I went ahead and started using it, and at 72, and still working with them, I feel it gave me several years increase in my life. Prior to that i also felt it was, just someones idea to sell the gadget, but if you do indead have the problem, its worth it.However the new July 1st sleep rules are full blown bull, with the machine or not.

  6. 6. Johnny [ September 18, 2013 @ 05:40PM ]

    maybe we can start getting testing for ED. Is there some gadget that someone can sell us for that?

  7. 7. Peter D. Ohmart [ September 19, 2013 @ 04:22PM ]

    I like how the government can be late on meeting deadlines, but heaven help anyone for complying to deadlines!


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