Bucking the trend toward legislative gridlock, new legislation to limit sleep apnea “guidance” has passed the House and Senate, and is now headed to the President’s desk. The bill was approved in the House by a vote of 405-0 in late September, and the Senate (also unanimously) passed it in October.
“The best part,” writes Charlie Morasch, of LandLineMag, a trucking industry publication, is that “Truckers are being hailed for their efforts to support the proposed law.”
Introduced in mid-September by Reps Larry Bucshon (R-Ind) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill), HR3095 required the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to go through its regulatory process and institute formal “rulemaking” instead of simply issuing “guidance” to physicians, drivers, and motor carriers.
As reported, the proposed Senate bill was co-sponsored by Sens Roy Blunt (R-Mo), and Mark Warner (D-Va). It aimed to “ensure that any new or revised requirement providing for the screening, testing or treatment of individuals operating commercial vehicles for sleep disorders is adopted through a rulemaking proceeding.”
“Both pieces of legislation were seen as a response to rumblings that FMCSA was preparing guidance that would urge physicians to require truckers with a Body Mass Index of 35 or greater to undergo overnight sleep exams,” writes Morasch. “Guidance – although it would carry the weight of FMCSA’s name – wouldn’t have required a public comment period or other measures common to the regulatory approval process.”
Source: Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)