Dec 2017: February Meeting Preview

February 21, 2018
“Sleep Disorders & Driving”

The DSTA will have the opportunity to learn more about sleep disorders from a sleep disorder specialist at St. Luke’s Hospital. Thomas Kelleher will explain the intricacies of sleep apnea and consequences of having or living with someone who has this disorder. We will learn the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. The FMCSA has been very active regarding this topic. Directly from the FMCSA website, they state “A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and sponsored by the FMCSA and the ATRI of the ATA found that almost one-third (28%) of commercial truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea.” Regarding the ability to drive if you have sleep apnea, they also have the following posted on their website. “Yes! While FMCSA regulations do not specifically address sleep apnea, they do prescribe that a person with a medical history or clinical diagnosis of any condition likely to interfere with their ability to drive safely cannot be medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce. However, once successfully treated, a driver may regain their “medically-qualified-to-drive” status. It is important to note that most cases of sleep apnea can be treated successfully. Because each State sets its own medical standards for driving a CMV in intrastate commerce, check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles for regulations in your State.”

There have been articles in Transport Topics that also cover this topic. If you want to check out a couple of them, they were published in the October 9, 2017 edition. The following are a few segments from one of the articles. “In March 2016, there was a notice of proposed rulemaking that would have expanded sleep apnea testing and treatment requirements for train operators and truck and bus drivers nationwide. Then in August the DOT withdrew the proposal to mandate sleep apnea testing on the federal level for rail workers and commercial truck drivers if a symp tom is observed. To follow this, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Cory Booker announced new legislation that would require the DOT to test commercial truck and bus drivers and train operator for obstructive sleep apnea.” Whether or not the DOT regulates testing, it is still important to understand and be aware of sleep disorders. In March 2016, Greyhound Lines settled a lawsuit for $6 million after the driver was subjected to the first known court-ordered sleep study to test for sleep apnea according to Courthouse News. The impact of sleep disorders go beyond the 28% who suffer from it.

Hope to see everyone out for this presentation!