With HR 3095 signed, sealed, and delivered, truckers flexed their legislative muscle yet again, convincing two U.S. Reps to write a letter on their behalf contending that certified medical examiners were skirting the law “by telling examiners to test truckers for sleep apnea.”
It all comes back to the bill that prohibits the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from “implementing or enforcing a requirement providing for the screening, testing or treatment of individuals operating commercial motor vehicles for sleep disorders only if the requirement is adopted pursuant to the rulemaking proceeding.”
An article in a trucking industry trade magazine Land Line by David Tanner reiterated that there is to be no mandate or guidance for apnea testing without going through the formal rulemaking and public comment process. “It has come to my attention, however, that organizations that provide training for certified medical examiners are circumventing HR3095,” the lawmakers stated in the letter addressed to acting FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling. “Specifically, the instructions they are providing clearly indicate that examiners should follow the obstructive sleep apnea guidance originally published by FMCSA on April 20, 2012 (and subsequently rescinded on April 27, 2012).”
“Since May 21, many drivers have told OOIDA’s regulatory team that their medical examiners are ordering sleep tests based on a driver’s weight, body-mass index, neck size, overbite, snoring and other criteria,” writes Tanner. “Bucshon and Lipinski point out in their letter how some medical training organizations are associated with sleep labs.”
Bucshon and Lipinski are reportedly urging the FMCSA to take three steps to correct problems:
• Communicate to all approved training organizations that examiners are not to be instructed to follow any specific steps with respect to sleep apnea testing and treatment;
• Instruct approved training organizations to remove all references to MRB, MCSAC and FMCSA recommendations on sleep apnea from their training materials; and
• Provide specific instructions to examiners who have already been trained to correct the previous training they received. (source: Bucshon and Lipinski letter).
“It is imperative that FMCSA address these issues as soon as possible,” the lawmakers stated. “These faulty training courses are keeping qualified drivers off the road. We would request a written response as to how FMCSA plans to address these issues and their progress in this endeavor.”
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