Truck drivers in North Carolina and across the United States may see a new sleep apnea testing rule in their industry. Earlier this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration scrapped a rule that would give medical examiners a specific set of criteria for sleep apnea referrals. However, Congressional Democrats have since filed bills that would force FMCSA to implement the rule.
There is currently no standard criteria that must be met for a truck driver to be referred for sleep apnea testing. FMCSA worked on a rule throughout 2016 that would have set down clear criteria for medical examiners but withdrew it in August this year. Officials with the agency stated at the time that the current protocol for sleep apnea referral is adequate. There have been problems associated with current protocol, however, including complaints from drivers about unwanted sleep testing.
Bills were filed in late September by Democrats in both houses of Congress to force a sleep apnea rule to be implemented. The rule that was under consideration in 2016 would have flagged truckers with a body mass index of 40 or higher for sleep apnea testing. For drivers over the age of 42, a BMI of 33 would flag them for testing. Sleep apnea is more common in older adults and those who are overweight.
When large trucks collide with passenger cars, the smaller vehicle often receives more serious damage. If a truck driver is at fault in such an accident, the trucking company might offer an out-of-court settlement. Though the offer might sound appealing, an injured person may benefit from legal representation that could help them understand their options. In some cases, taking the case to court could be advisable.