A court challenge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s final rule on medical examiner’s certification integration has been initiated by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

OOIDA said on Nov. 14 that it has filed a petition for review of the rule because “the agency bypassed the rulemaking process by adding an appendix on sleep apnea.” The petition was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in St. Louis. 

In a press release, OOIDA said that the appendix [Respiratory Dysfunction: 391.41(b)(5)] was not included in the proposed rulemaking. That appendix reads in part that “There are many conditions that interfere with oxygen exchange and may result in incapacitation, including emphysema, chronic asthma, carcinoma, tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis and sleep apnea. If the medical examiner detects a respiratory dysfunction, that in any way is likely to interfere with the driver's ability to safely control and drive a commercial motor vehicle, the driver must be referred to a specialist for further evaluation and therapy.”

OOIDA contends that “by law, FMCSA is supposed to conduct a formal rulemaking before requiring sleep apnea testing for commercial truck drivers.”  

The final rule in question, issued in April 2015, required that certified medical examiners, who perform CDL physicals, to use a new medical form.  FMCSA said the rule aims to facilitate the electronic transmission of MEC information from FMCSA’s National Registry to State driver’s licensing agencies and it requires the use of the revised MER and MEC forms.  

OOIDA stated that in previous comments it had made on that final rule, it maintained that “drivers are the ones forced to pay for the arbitrary [sleep apnea] standards.”  

“These practices pull safe drivers off the road for protracted periods of time and force them to spend thousands of dollars on unwarranted tests and expensive exams,” OOIDA wrote. “In worst-case situations, safe driving careers are ended and small businesses are forced to close. OOIDA members have experienced these consequences firsthand on too many occasions."

OOIDA said it will file full arguments by Dec. 19.