It seems that sleep apnea, a harmful disorder, is playing a big role and becoming the hot topic in the US trucking industry. And for companies that ship freight by truck, this could be important news to remember. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently released a statement about sleep apnea. The FMCSA stated that medical examiners for truck drivers should not follow the current federal laws regarding sleep apnea screening. A new set of laws will be released shortly.
The 2013 ruling from the FMCSA stated that they would write the law, which currently prohibits them from having a rule about preventing truckers with sleep apnea from driving. This could eventually change once there is a sleep apnea ruling that goes through the appropriate legal channels first. This might happen in a few months.
While driver fatigue is certainly an issue relating to trucking safety, sleep apnea is a contributor to the fatigue. Although it is reported that nearly 30% of all truck drivers suffer from mild to severe sleep apnea (and they should take appropriate treatment), it seems that studies has proven that sleep apnea does not increase risks on the road.
Still, it can be tough for truck drivers who are being targeted and tested for sleep apnea. Some trucking companies are targeting truck drivers who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 35. For the shippers who want to find out how a new sleep apnea law can impact their freight shipments, they should speak to a trusted freight forwarder in the US.