Agency asking for public input about driver jobs

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is seeking input for driver jobs.

Te agencies are seeking public input during the next 90 days on the impacts of screening, evaluating, and treating rail workers and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  The National Transportation Safety Board  recommended that DOT take action to address OSA screening and treatment for transportation workers.

It is estimated that 22 million men and women could be suffering from undiagnosed OSA, a respiratory disorder characterized by a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep.  Undiagnosed or inadequately treated moderate to severe OSA can cause unintended sleep episodes and deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, memory, and the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety sensitive service.

For individuals with OSA, eight hours of sleep can be less refreshing than four hours of ordinary, uninterrupted sleep, according to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  The size and scope of the potential problem means that OSA presents a critical safety issue for all modes and operations in the transportation industry.

“The sooner patients with OSA are diagnosed and treated, the sooner our rail network will be safer,” said FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg said.  “Over the next 90 days, we look forward to hearing views from stakeholders about the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea, their views on diagnosis and treatment, and potential economic impacts.”

“The collection and analysis of sound data on the impact of OSA must be our immediate first step,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling.  “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.”