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September 27, 2013  |   Comments (15)   |   Post a comment

Sleep apnea bill passes House, NASDPTS adds support

By Thomas McMahon


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bipartisan bill that aims to prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from issuing guidance on sleep apnea testing for commercial drivers without going through a formal rulemaking process.

The House approved H.R. 3095 with a unanimous vote of 405-0. Now, the Senate will consider the companion bill, S. 1537.

"Safety is always our top priority, and this legislation ensures a thorough review of the issue in a careful way, including a cost-benefit analysis, to ensure that any new mandate will actually improve safety,” said Tim Flood, president of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA).

A coalition of organizations, including NSTA, has been advocating for the legislation. On Friday, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) announced its support.

"This legislation will not prevent FMCSA from addressing OSA [obstructive sleep apnea] and other sleep disorders, but it will simply require that any action taken be done via a long-standing process that includes stakeholder input and a cost-benefit analysis," NASDPTS President Max Christensen said. "All of us have the goal to reduce sleep disorder induced accidents and improve safety."

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Read more about: driver fatigue, FMCSA, NASDPTS, NSTA

@ Jim Leach, no you are not the only one who got screwed...there are many, because while i believe some really to need and benefit from it, It is a medical cash cow, those are the words I heard from a doctor who does sleep study on the side. "Its my cash cow" I was also told after my sleep study that everyone stops breathing a few times during the night, that is normal, stop breathing 88 times an hour isnt. And you are right, no one discusses the constant, frustrating sinus infections, the blocked Eustachian tubes in the ear from fluids being force back to the ear drums, the ear/head ringing (tinnitus), vertigo....Endless doctor appt...I am looking to flunk the medical exam for my CDL, based on the new medical exam guidelines. I have asthma (controlled) 1 point. sleep apnea (Controlled) 2 points, (1 for apnea and then they slap you with another point for sleep disorder) and 1 point for greater than 35 BMI. THen I am going to insist on Disability....because at 60 I am not going to start another new career, THis was my new career at 58. I settled for it because I was out of work for 2 years and it was the only good paying job in my town (over an hour from the nearest city) So I give up...

irene    |    Nov 10, 2013 05:40 AM

@ Jim Leach....don't tell them you take mid day naps....for anyone else without a CDL this is just a normal thing to do on a day off. If a CDL holder says they take an occasional nap, they WILL not be issued their permit until they take the Apnea sleep study, I know because that question was asked of my husband who is a bus driver. Its a trap, you think if you answer yes that you are telling them you get plenty of rest...not the case

irene    |    Nov 10, 2013 05:25 AM

@ Jim Leach....don't tell them you take mid day naps....for anyone else without a CDL this is just a normal thing to do on a day off. If a CDL holder says they take an occasional nap, they WILL not be issued their permit until they take the Apnea sleep study, I know because that question was asked of my husband who is a bus driver. Its a trap, you think if you answer yes that you are telling them you get plenty of rest...not the case

irene    |    Nov 10, 2013 05:25 AM

Ridiculous!! I have been a truck driver for 15 years...driving 9 to 11 hours a day. I am now a school bus driver...I drive 2 and a half hours in the morning, go home, and drive 2 and a half hours in the afternoon...a sleep study at $3500 for a part time driving job???? at $12 an hour? I am already on Cpap and couldnt afford the testing, couldnt afford the $1500 Cpap machine and cnat afford the $145- $200 monthly maintenance Cpap supply cost...The trucking job paid for the test and machine...the school bus job isnt making it for the supplies and now I may loose my part time job for a plan that looks good on paper....where can I sign up for disability....I am looking to totally flunk my DOT physical exam even though I am healthy enough to work...I dont want to start a new career at 60....and school bus driving is only a part time job and its getting harder to find people to do it...based on the low pay, small hours and now the medical hoops to jump through....

irene    |    Nov 10, 2013 05:20 AM

I am not aware of any insurance company that pays for sleep apnea...they didnt a few years they now? BTW the new dot medical exam is base on a point system...4 point and you are gone...sleep apnea is a 2 pointer. 1 point for the sleep apnea and 1 point for the sleep now if you also have high blood pressure and a bmi over 35, even if they are controlled by your meds, you are now unemployed... on the point system it follows: 0-1 points, you get a 2 year max certification, 2 points max 1 year certification, 3 points max 6 months cert. 4 point, not eligible. ....multiple medical problems will get you in big trouble, even if they are controlled......Diabetes on meds, Cardiovascular disease, Hypertension, sleep apnea, bmI.35, Kidney disease, lung disease, Musculoskeletal disease requiring meds, surgery or prosthetics, stroke or tia, major psychiatric illness (all psychiatric illnesses are deemed major, any that require meds) the kids will be walking to school...and it may to them so good...keep them fit enough to be school bus drivers when they graduate.

irene    |    Nov 10, 2013 05:20 AM

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 1996. I was lucky enough to immediately adjust to the mask and pump. My coworkers told me that I had an almost immediate and positive change in personality, and I have never looked back. I still can't sleep without the equipment. From my own personal experience, I believe that this is an issue that should be carefully looked at.

Keith Johnson    |    Oct 09, 2013 06:11 AM

The sticker shock for these medical devices, masks, and hoses are so far out of line it makes government purchased toilets seem a bargain. The medical supplies industry is one of the biggest scams out there, and not at all apologetic for the customers wallets they empty if given a chance. My condition requires a more rare machine, cost just under 5-thousand. There are good used cpap machines available for obstructive sleep apnea at under $150, and sleep doctors often know where you can obtain one free if need be. But beware, the medical supplies industry includes a 'mindfield' of false claims and junk products, so always have a used cpap checked out by a reputable local business.

jkraemer    |    Oct 04, 2013 09:56 PM

I reached a point where I felt sleepy behind the wheel on some days, could not make sense of that condition. Slept plenty at night and even took a nap on some days. Finally went to the doctor. The doctors discovered that I had both obstructive sleep apnea, although not serious, but then also had the more dangerous complex sleep apnea. One night on a breathing device and I felt totally different behind the wheel, fully awake and probably more aware. Glad I did the study, helped me keep kids safe, and probably saved my life. Note: Wash your face every night, and keep the hoses and mask clean to avoid sinus infections. School bus students record their driver dozing at the wheel...

jkraemer    |    Oct 04, 2013 09:54 PM

Marvin, I realise the costs of what could happen & I believe it truly helps those people that have severe issues. but when this science is based in conditions that you have no control over i,e, room temperature,a bed that is hard as a rock & completely different than your own,ambient noise etc. how can you get the true results of what you are trying to accomplish. you cant. I am not a driver, I am licensed to drive a bus because I am a transportation supervisor & mechanic. I do the occasional drop/pickup because of the lack of drivers & to road test the equipment I repair.

Jim Leach    |    Oct 03, 2013 02:47 AM

The potential costs of just one bad accident, far out way the minor inconveniences being imposed to encourage "intelligent" people to do the right thing. CPAPS are effective in treating the disorder. Get a proper study and prescription. Use it!

Marvin    |    Oct 02, 2013 11:00 AM

If a bus driver has severe Sleep Apnea will that person still be able to drive school bus?

Andy Torres    |    Oct 02, 2013 08:34 AM

Makes a person wonder if the real people pushing this are the cpap machine manufacturers.They stand to gain the most.

Monte Hawley    |    Oct 02, 2013 08:31 AM

Soon you will have to wear a sleep tracking device and they will jail you if you drive without getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Get government out of our lives!

McM West    |    Oct 02, 2013 05:04 AM

By simply checking the yes box on a questionaire next to "do you snore".It was deemed I needed a sleep study. during the study,they woke me up twice to re-glue the sensors to my head because I had sweated them off from the temperature in the room.they said I only had a couple apnea moments & got me going on a cpap I am stuck with it & have to provide proof that it is being used when I have my next DOT physical.despite the constant sinus infections that I get now & never did before I am still using it.My point is that all this was based on probably one of the worst nights of sleep I have ever had & now I am stuck with this thing just so I can keep my medical card. if they are going to go forward with this they need to find a better way for testing,as I am sure I am not the only one that has been screwed like this.

Jim Leach    |    Oct 02, 2013 02:52 AM

Good topic to follow after a good night's rest.

Charles E Bartlett    |    Oct 01, 2013 03:24 PM

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