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FMCSA, FRA seek input on sleep apnea


Photo: DonFord1/iStock/Thinkstock

Washington – Transportation officials want to hear from stakeholders about the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea among rail workers and commercial motor vehicle drivers, as well as the best methods to diagnose and treat the disorder.

On March 8, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced an advance notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at learning more about the effects of obstructive sleep apnea on transportation workers in safety-sensitive positions.

FRA and FMCSA are considering whether to propose requirements aimed at improving safety for workers with obstructive sleep apnea. The decision follows a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board, which advised the Department of Transportation to address sleep apnea screening and treatment. Sleep apnea is a respiratory disorder that interferes with sleep and may lead to impairment or inattentiveness on the roads and rails.

To submit a comment on the ANPRM, go to www.regulations.gov and enter “FMCSA-2015-0419” or “FRA-2015-0111” in the search box.

FMCSA Acting Administrator T.F. Scott Darling III asked for all stakeholders to contribute. “The collection and analysis of sound data on the impact of OSA must be our immediate first step,” Darling said in a press release. “We call upon the public to help us better understand the prevalence of OSA among commercial truck and bus drivers, as well as the safety and economic impacts on the truck and bus industries.”

The agencies also announced plans to host three public listening sessions in the near future in Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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