Trucking industry rolls right over driver safety


Last week, I wrote about a new bill that sought a formal process for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to draft regulation governing the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea in commercial drivers.

No sooner had the digital ink on that story dried than we learned that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee scheduled a vote on the bill.

Used to the often glacial pace of your typical HME bill (MPP, CRT, home infusion all come to mind), I wondered if I had misread this. I hadn't.

It gets better. The FMCSA, which has been in the drafting stages for years, suddenly changed its mind, agreed to go through rulemaking process without the bill even needing to be put up for a vote.

Does it really all just boil down to money and might? 

I wasn't the only one scratching my head.

"There is obviously some serious political muscle behind the push to delay regulation," said Dana Voien, president of SleepSafe Drivers. "The sad irony is that these folks say that are trying to 'protect' drivers, but this will likely delay implementation by years, and in the meantime, drivers with untreated sleep apnea are 3-7 times more likely to crash, and twice as likely to die from heart attacks and strokes.  And, every major fleet/sleep program has documented significant net savings, so the cost argument is disingenuous. The real victims here are the drivers themselves, and the safety of the driving public."