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OOIDA wants court case to be reheard

Commercial truckers in Louisiana may be interested in learning that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has asked the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear its argument against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The organization is claiming that the federal agency unlawfully changed sleep apnea screening guidelines for truck drivers.

The OOIDA asserts that the FMCSA is in violation of a 2013 Congressional law that prohibits the agency from implementing guidance to control how truck operators are screened for sleep apnea and how they receive treatment. The law mandated that the FMCSA use the formal rulemaking process to modify the procedures for sleep apnea screening. Parts of the correct procedure include issuing a public notice and providing a period for comments.

According to the OOIDA, the FMSCA violated the law when it added a provision related to sleep apnea onto a broader law in 2015. The amended law addressed the change in forms medical examiners were to use for performing DOT physicals and issued the requirement for examiners to provide the DOT physical results to the FMCSA no later than 24 hours after the exams were conducted.

The FMCSA asserts that the OOIDA's claim is incorrect. The agency states that there were no significant changes in the guidance for examiners regarding in-lab sleep apnea testing referrals that resulted from adding the sleep apnea provision to the rule. The DOT attorney representing the FMCSA also stated that agency guidance that was established before the implementation of the 2013 law grants individual examiners the discretion to refer truck operators for sleep apnea testing.

An attorney who practices personal injury law may work to hold a commercial truck driver financially responsible for accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. A lawyer may also pursue financial compensation against the truck driver's employer for any injuries that his or her client sustained.

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