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Truckers' sleep apnea screening criteria will not change

Truck drivers in Illinois and throughout the country will not be subject to new rules regarding sleep apnea screening, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration announced on Aug. 4. If implemented, the rule would have clarified criteria regarding when a truck driver would be sent for screening. The rules in place are unclear because there is no single standard that a medical provider is supposed to reply upon for further screening. Some drivers have said referrals were unwarranted and simply represented an opportunity for providers to make more money.

However, similar objections were raised regarding the proposed regulation. Various organizations proposed screening criteria that might have led to truck drivers with a BMI of at least 40 or drivers with other risk factors and a BMI of at least 33 to be screened. Screening might have been required for up to 40 percent of drivers. The Aug. 4 notice said that the previous protocol from January 2015 would continue to be the standard. This leaves screening for sleep apnea up to the discretion of the medical provider.

The FMCA had worked on the rule throughout 2016. It had published a pre-rule and held meetings and listening sessions, but ultimately, the agency said it lacked the data to make a change.

Truck drivers who do fall asleep at the wheel, whether because of sleep apnea or for other reasons, can cause serious accidents that result in catastrophic injuries to occupants of other smaller vehicles that are involved in the collision. Injured victims might want to meet with an attorney to see if the actions of the truck driver constituted negligence.

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