Senators question decision on sleep testing

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

WASHINGTON – A group of senators on Monday sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation asking why the agency has scrapped a proposal to require sleep apnea testing of transportation workers, according to The Hill. The senators, who include Cory Booker, D-N.J., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., also ask the agency for copies of “all data and information” that was used to make the decision, The Hill reports. The senators urged the agency to reconsider its decision or come up with a new plan to step up safety. “The 2016 proposed rule consisted of a modest, common-sense approach to combating fatigue on our roads and rails: require testing for obstructive sleep apnea if a problematic symptom is observed,” they wrote in the letter. “We strongly believe that DOT should immediately reconsider the decision to help avoid future fatigue-related tragedies.” The Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said earlier this month that they would be scraping the proposal, arguing that it should be up to trucking and railroad companies to decide whether or not to screen their employees. Last year, however, the agencies announced a proposal to require screening and sought public input. Deadly crashes in New York City and New Jersey, as well as several highway crashes, have brought the issue to the forefront.