The “Sleep Apnea” Bill Explained
by Apex Capital | September 30, 2013
What Does the Sleep Apnea Bill Do?
On Thursday, September 26, H.R. 3095, aka the “Sleep Apnea,” bill passed the House of Representatives by a unanimous 405-0, just 13 days after it was introduced. It now heads to the Senate to be voted on. So what does this bill entail?
The Sleep Apnea bill would “require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to go through a formal notice and comment rule-making proceeding when issuing guidance on screening and testing for obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.”
In plain English, please?
If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, this bill would require the FMCSA to require screening, testing, or treatment of individuals operating commercial motor vehicles for sleep disorders.
According to the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Larry Buschon (R-Md.) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D.-Ill), the estimated annual cost of screening, diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea “could exceed $1 billion annually.” However, the Reps. say that by taking this route, the rule could be looked at closely to see if the screenings are necessary and beneficial to the trucking industry. The legislation is supported by the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, according to CCJ.
Impact on Trucking
So just how many truckers would this affect? Well not as many as you would think. According to a study done in 2002, sponsored by the FMCSA, found that one-third (28%) of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea. Is this enough to justify the regulations of the FMCSA? You tell us!
If you would like to keep up with the progress of this bill, you can do so at GovTrack.us
The government shutdown on October 1, is putting the “Sleep Apnea” bill on hold. The bill is currently in the Senate, awaiting approval, but FMCSA says it will make a rule on sleep apnea and commercial drivers, after studying the issue in more detail. This is good news for many trucking organizations because it means that this issue will not effect drivers getting their medical certifications, for now.
For more information check out this article from Overdrive Magazine.