Truckers Call for More Science Behind Sleep-Related Regulations

Truckers meeting in Las Vegas this week continued to acknowledge the role of sleep disorders in the profession, but the head of the American Trucking Association (ATA) wants a bit more science in the discussion.

“Fatigue and driver health are two serious issues facing the trucking industry,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. “However, as important as it is to address those issues, it is equally important for the federal government to use the regulatory process – with its emphasis on science-based outcomes and cost-benefit analyses.”

Graves specifically called for any efforts to address sleep disorders (like obstructive sleep apnea) to be channeled “through rulemaking and not through the publication of regulatory guidance.” And those rules should focus on “conditions that pose a substantially elevated crash risk based on sound data and analysis, be cost beneficial and promote effective treatments that minimize the impact to motor carriers.”

It may sound like a distinction without a difference, but the gist of the ATA’s clarification comes down to evidence, as opposed to intuition. The new policy was approved during ATA’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition.

“We know that federal regulators are looking to address the issue of sleep disorders,” said Mike Card, president of Combined Transport, Central Point, Ore, and new ATA chairman. “What we are doing today is asking the government to follow its own normal processes and do this properly.

“Our industry can and will support smart, sensible, cost-beneficial regulation,” added Card as reported by Trucker News Services. “Critical driver health issues, such as screening and treatment for sleep disorders, must be addressed using sound science and cost-benefit analyses.”

by Greg Thompson

Source: American Trucking Association


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