Commercial Trucking Financing Sleep Apnea Testing Now Subject to Federal Regulations
Yesterday President Obama signed into law a bill that ensures any official sleep apnea testing ordered on commercial trucking firms be subject to Federal regulations as opposed to guidelines. The significance of this is that guidelines have the potential to be much more confusing and less regimented than regulations. Another factor in the decision, which was applauded by trucking organizations including the American Trucking Associations, is the fact that regulations require much more due diligence and testing before they are able to be put into place. The annual costs to the trucking industry associated with the sleep apnea testings could potentially be as high as $1 billion annually, a not insignificant amount of expenditure. The requirement for formal regulation means that it will now be much more difficult to put mandated testing into place, which may save the trucking industry much money.
The dangers of drivers on the road with sleep apnea are real as well, however. The requirement for formal regulations also makes it more clear that if there will be legislation surrounding the issue, it will be sure to be taken very seriously. Sleep apnea is a health issue that leads to chronic fatigue, listed as one of the main contributors to truck driver fatalities. The health condition makes it so that even if drivers get the recommended hours of sleep for them, they may still not be well rested, as the quality of their sleep will be dramatically reduced. Driver fatigue is, for these reasons, a very hot-button issue, with business owners and lawmakers caught in between the negative outcomes of unfairly punishing logistics businesses and not doing enough to protect truck driver health and the safety of our roadways.
Photo Credit to Rachel Tayse on Flickr