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Sleep apnea rule for truckers is withdrawn

A notice was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that stated the rule for establishing sleep apnea criteria for commercial truckers would be withdrawn. This means that truckers in Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States will still be governed by the existing, confusing policy for determining if drivers should be tested for sleep apnea.

The rule was intended to provide clarity for carrier employers, medical examiners and truckers regarding the criteria that would require that a driver be compelled to have in-lab apnea testing and the criteria that would determine treatment procedures. The existing system that is in place gives medical examiners the authority to decide whether a trucker should undergo testing for sleep apnea.

The confusion caused by the prevailing system has prompted allegations from drivers of unnecessary referrals. The drivers also believe that physicians, sleep apnea testing firms and manufacturers of treatment devices are taking advantage of the system to make money.

The FMCSA worked continuously on the sleep apnea rule in 2016. Some of its efforts included holding listening sessions across the nation so that public opinions could be heard and publishing a pre-rule. The agency also held meetings, which focused on sleep apnea, with two of its well-known advisory boards. However, according to the July 2017 regulatory update the agency issued, the amount of data that was gathered was insufficient to justify a rulemaking.

Individuals who sustain injuries as a result of truck accidents may have legal recourse. A personal injury attorney may examine the factors surrounding a truck accident and may advise the injured parties of their legal options. Negligent truck maintenance, improperly secured cargo, defective auto parts and a driver who was drunk, sleepy or distracted may be sufficient cause to file a lawsuit to pursue financial damages for injuries.