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Sleep apnea testing will not be required for truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration withdrew a rulemaking, or pursuit of implementing a rule, regarding sleep apnea testing for truck drivers. Florida drivers might be interested in the proposed rule, which would have required sleep apnea testing for up to 40 percent of drivers due to certain conditions, including body mass index and age, before they could receive certification.

The current legislation states that medical providers can decide if truckers should be referred for in-lab sleep apnea testing if they feel that the driver’s respiratory condition might be a possible factor for truck accidents. The FMCSA had been considering legislation that would result in referrals for drivers with BMIs of 40 and higher and for those with BMIs of 33 or higher who were also at least 42 and male. These drivers would be issued temporary certification until the sleep apnea test results.

Critics of the current legislation argue that the discretionary referrals and testing had become a way for doctors, sleep-apnea labs and device manufacturers to profit from the issue. If formal legislation was established, there would be clear parameters to be used in referrals. The FMCSA announced a pre-rule while it investigated the matter, including meeting with two of its advisory committees. However, the conclusion was that not enough evidence had been gathered to change the legislation in place, which was adopted in 2015.

The concern over sleep apnea issues relates to truck accidents as drivers who suffer from sleep apnea might also experience drowsy driving due to exhaustion. They may also have slower reflexes and face higher risks of health conditions, such as high blood pressure. For residents who have been victims of truck accidents, this is an issue that might be used as evidence in a personal injury claim. Victims might choose to contact a lawyer who can explain the type of evidence needed to support the claim and help them through the process.

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