A new bill is being introduced in the house that would stop the FMCSA from being able to mandate formal sleep apnea screening regulation without first doing research or allowing the regulations to be challenged. The bill would force the FMCSA to define any changes as “rule changes” instead of “guidance” which would force them to go through a standard rule-making process.
The bill is supported by OOIDA, the ATA, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and other trucking and commercial vehicle interest groups.
“The best policy is for the [FMCSA] 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.”
OOIDA and other groups supporting the bill are looking to make sure that the FMCSA will be forced to listen to expert advice from physicians, researchers, and drivers themselves. Also, since carriers will be the ones whose employment screening processes will change, the ATA has stated that trucking companies will want to be able to give some input on any regulation that may come about.
“ATA believes that if the [agency] wants to regulate sleep apnea, it should do so through the normal, established regulatory process rather than through informal guidance,” said ATA President Bill Graves.
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