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Saturday, February 27, 2021

FMCSA Nears New Guidelines on Sleep Apnea Testing

Anne Ferro, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), recently told trucking industry operators the agency was busy working on new sleep apnea guidelines, which could be issued by the end of the year.

Ferro spoke last week at the National Private Truck Council’s annual safety conference in Virginia where she provided insight into the federal government’s latest safety compliance initiatives.

Attendees at the event told CTA that Ferro closed her speech with an update on mandatory sleep apnea screening. She said that FMCSA was going to issue additional guidelines on sleep apnea by December of this year. The guidelines will reportedly resemble those the agency issued earlier this year, but then then retracted. The guidelines are very likely a precursor to a rule requiring truck drivers operating in the U.S. to be tested for sleep apnea.

The previous guidelines were based on recommendations from two of FMCSA’s advisory panels – the Medical Review Board and the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee – including a proposal that medical examiners should evaluate commercial drivers with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more.

Ferro also reportedly complimented carrier companies that have voluntarily implemented sleep apnea screening and treatment programs ahead of an official regulation, which she says improves the health and wellness of their drivers.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is working with contacts in Washington on this issue and will update members as new information becomes available.

Meanwhile, CTA, in partnership with OSA Canada Inc., this year launched a first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada to deliver a full service sleep apnea program to commercial truck drivers.

The unique program — which  screens drivers on-site, tests,  diagnoses and the provides ongoing monitoring of the CPAP equipment to ensure both driver comfort and compliance – is specifically designed to screen and identify drivers who may attempt  to skew or underreport symptoms.