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Truck driver sleep apnea rule withdrawn

New York motorists may have heard that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has withdrawn a new rule that would have established sleep apnea screening requirements for truck drivers. The agency issued a notice regarding the withdrawal in early August.

The rule was designed to provide guidance to health care providers, truck drivers and truck companies about the conditions that may require a driver to undergo a sleep apnea assessment. It also would have outlined a treatment protocol for drivers diagnosed with sleep apnea. The rule was meant to standardize the sleep apnea screening process for truck drivers, but critics say it has caused confusion throughout the trucking industry.

FMCSA worked on establishing the new sleep apnea rule throughout 2016, holding nationwide listening sessions and having its Medical Review Board and Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee conduct meetings on the issue. However, the agency came to the conclusion that its existing sleep apnea rule, issued in January 2015, is adequate. The current rule encourages health care professionals to refer truck drivers for sleep apnea screening if they believe their respiratory health could prevent them from safely operating a commercial truck.

Each year, driver fatigue causes thousands of serious truck accidents on American roads. Victims of such accidents often suffer severe injuries because of the size of the vehicles involved. In some cases, it may be necessary for truck accident victims to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver in order to recover compensation for monetary and non-monetary losses. Monetary losses may include medical expenses, lost wages and property damage, while non-monetary losses could include pain and suffering. Truck accident victims could have their case assessed by contacting an attorney.

Source: Overdrive Online, "DOT withdraws rule to set sleep apnea screening criteria for truckers," James Jaillet, Aug. 4, 2017

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