OOIDA Supports Subjecting Sleep Apnea Policy To Formal Cost Benefit Analysis
Grain Valley, MO…
The nation’s largest association representing professional truckers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA, supports legislation introduced by Congress that would ensure a formal rulemaking process regarding future policies on the issue of sleep apnea. This would include requiring that a full cost-benefit and regulatory impact analysis be used should the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration decide to set policy regarding screening, testing and treatment for sleep apnea as opposed to guidance, which is not subject to this critical analysis.
“The best policy is for the agency to use the rulemaking process already in place rather than side-stepping it,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “With the potential cost to trucking running north of $1 billion without the proven safety improvement, guidance is not a practice we can support.”
Reps Larry Bucshon (R-IN), and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced the bipartisan bill, H.R.3095, to ensure that any FMCSA sleep apnea policy take into account costs to the industry and consider the best screening, testing, and treatment methods versus an overly broad approach that was initially issued by the FMCSA in since-withdrawn guidance from April 2012. H.R. 3095 does not require FMCSA to issue any policy or regulation regarding sleep apnea. It simply ensures that any policy issued does not avoid a thorough analysis of the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea among truck and bus drivers, the range of possible actions to address the problem, or the costs and benefits of any policy.
The legislation is part of a broad industry effort that includes OOIDA, the American Trucking Associations, the American Bus Association, the United Motor Coach Association, the Private School Bus operators, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
“Small-business truckers applaud Representatives Bucshon and Lipinski for their efforts on this important issue to truckers and to small businesses,” said Spencer. “H.R.3095 is common sense legislation that has the support of the entire industry. That fact alone should send a strong signal that anything FMCSA does regarding sleep apnea should absolutely consider the costs such a policy will pass on to truckers, especially more experienced and safer drivers.”
OOIDA holds the position that any truck driver who has symptoms or signs of sleep apnea should seek the advice of their own primary care physician. OOIDA has been opposed to suggested mandates that require testing solely based on Body Mass Index (BMI), and requirements that truckers use only expensive medical devices to treat the condition when other less expensive alternatives may be as effective. According to research on sleep apnea published by FMCSA, there is no statistical evidence to suggest that the presence of sleep apnea significantly increases the likelihood or the risk of motor vehicle crashes.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.