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Legislation to establish sleep apnea rule for truckers

Commercial truckers in Louisiana and the rest of the country may soon be subject to a new rule regarding testing for obstructive sleep apnea. Democratic senators and representatives have filed bills intended to compel the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to resume its work on a rule that will establish new guidelines for the screening and treatment of sleep apnea.

Congressional Democrats want federal trucking regulators to implement a rule that establishes unambiguous criteria that medical examiners can use when referring truck drivers for apnea testing. The FMCSA conducted work on the rule in 2016. Recommendations for the rule from the agency's Medical Advisory Board were considered, and stakeholders in the trucking industry were allowed to voice their opinions during public meetings.

A sleep apnea rule would provide drivers, carrier employers and medical examiners with clear instructions regarding which criteria would need to be met in order to justify referring a driver to take an in-lab sleep apnea test. It also would offer instruction in how the condition should be treated.

Under the existing policy, there are many different groups of screening protocols medical examiners use to determine if a sleep apnea test is necessary. It has resulted in confusion within the industry and spurred claims of unwarranted referrals from drivers, who feel that medical professionals, sleep apnea testing firms and the manufacturers of treatment devices are using the confusing regulation to make money.

Someone who is injured in a truck accident that is caused by certain factors may be liable to seek legal remedy. A personal injury attorney may file lawsuits against the negligent parties responsible for the overloading of cargo, truck driver fatigue, improper truck maintenance, defective truck components, falsified trucking logs, defective tires or any other issues that resulted in a collision with an 18-wheeler or multivehicle crash.

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