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October 18, 2013  |   Comments (17)   |   Post a comment

Obama signs sleep apnea bill

By Kelly Roher

On Oct. 15, President Obama signed H.R. 3095, which requires the FMCSA to go through a formal notice and comment rulemaking proceeding when issuing guidance on the screening, testing and treatment of commercial drivers for obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

On Oct. 15, President Obama signed H.R. 3095, which requires the FMCSA to go through a formal notice and comment rulemaking proceeding when issuing guidance on the screening, testing and treatment of commercial drivers for obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Oct. 15, President Obama signed a bipartisan bill that prevents the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) from issuing guidance on sleep apnea testing for commercial drivers without going through a formal rulemaking process.

H.R. 3095 requires the FMCSA to go through a formal notice and comment rulemaking proceeding when issuing guidance on the screening, testing and treatment of these drivers for obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

A coalition of organizations, including the National School Transportation Administration (NSTA), had been advocating for the legislation.  

"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, NSTA president, as SBF previously reported.

Upon news of Obama’s signing of the bill, the association said in in a statement that it worked diligently with its membership and industry partners to organize bipartisan support in Congress.

“Our success in reaching passage on this bill is due to our membership,” NSTA added. “Without your relationships and outreach to Congress, which allows offices to hear firsthand how this could impact your operations, NSTA would not have been able to swiftly achieve this legislative victory in the shadow of such unrest on Capitol Hill.”

The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services also supported the bill.

"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: FMCSA, NASDPTS, NSTA

What does your bmi have to be safe to drive a school bus.

Steve    |    Jun 22, 2015 10:10 PM

this big government at work wasting your money.... if it was about safety they would start with the schools that give under qualified people cdl's (Learn how to drive a big truck in 4 weeks and make the big bucks) yep and this is where they need to be focused....

dale    |    May 11, 2015 03:04 PM

DOT will not accept a home sleep study I have been off work for almost 2 monthes attempting to satisfy the doctor I am a union employe so i have sick time most drivers do not I am also a private pilot and did not have a problem with my flight phy. this discrimates and profilles against over weight people and causes some not to be able to work and there is no prof that it causes city bus drivers to have accdients

Dewayne Holt    |    Oct 06, 2014 11:13 AM

The current law is discriminatory as it only is for people that are overweight. If it was created to help promote safety it would be for ALL CDL drivers, not just overweight ones. Do you think this law would have been allowed if only BLACK CDL drivers had to take a sleep apnea test?

Debra Anastasi    |    Aug 03, 2014 12:58 PM

Yes, sleep apnea diagnosis, supplies, and CPAP is typically covered under most insurance plans. My husband has had a CPAP machine for over 10 years. It's always been almost entirely covered. It's considered preventative since using it consistently can greatly improve health.

Jennifer    |    May 12, 2014 10:57 AM

The costs are not as high as you would think. Home Sleep Tests (HST) are very affordable. They cost $249 and include all testing and interpretation by a physician. The test results then go to your GP (or whichever doctor your working with) and he/she writes a prescription for PAP therapy. CPAP machines range from $375 (for an Auto with humidifier) on up and masks start as low as $45.

Jen, CPAP Supply USA    |    Jan 27, 2014 01:18 PM

No Dorothy will put them out of work, out of insurance to pay for the endlesss costly cpap supplies....out of the ability to ever professionally drive again...but its just not the sleep apnea patients being targeted, its the blood pressure patients, the ones suffering from temporary depression and other issues that ARE being successfully treated with medicine...unless this is a pre-empted strike to get us off the road because of new obamacare restrictions, we wont be getting our jkg, folks. Consider this...while we are putting scores of American drivers out of work for over regulations of health, Is our nation going to be equally concerned about the canadian muslim population and the mexican population who will now be our new driving force....will their health be scrutinized....they are being given passes on other regulations.....what are their DOT requirements....Dont let anyone tell you that they are equal to ours...not true....make them prove it, dont take their word

irene howard    |    Nov 22, 2013 08:24 AM

Will it really help people with sleep apnea? This is getting a lot of problems especially to those who are suffering from this kind of concern.

Dorothy Mae Mojica    |    Nov 10, 2013 03:55 PM

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 08, 2013 05:44 PM

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 08, 2013 05:27 PM

I have a CDL with all endorsements except Hazmat and I also have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, I sleep with a bipap and have been on it for a year. Every driver that suspects they have a sleep disorder should have treatment and I know what the cost associated is as I had to pay most of it myself and I'm not a Rich Man. But it definitely needs to be addressed.

Terry    |    Nov 06, 2013 08:27 AM

To John: Any driver who is not fit to drive for any reason should immediately place himself/herself OUT-OF-SERVICE. Just say "NO, I'm driving, I'm not fit." If the company can't respect that, find another company to drive for (and one who is doing things the right way). There are lots of options!

CJ    |    Oct 25, 2013 09:48 AM

I have been a school bus driver for 37 years and now work in the Tranportation Department of our school district. In all the years that I was a School Bus Driver, I NEVER fell asleep while driving the bus. I am totally AGAINST the direction that this bill is heading in, with requirements for ALL CDL drivers to do the Sleep test. It is going to cost our drivers Financially and it may disqualify some drivers. Getting new School Bus Drivers already is a MAJAOR PROBLEM, this just adds another Stumbling Block. I think the FOCUS should be on all Traffic Violations pertaining to the School Bus and Student Safety. Almost daily we have vehicles passing our school buses when students are boarding or unloading the bus, putting our students at risk for injury or death. I think that if the Government wants to be involved, they should MANDATE that ALL Drivers MUST TAKE A WRITTEN TEST every time they renew their drivers license. THAT IS WAY PAST DUE.

Sharon Simmons    |    Oct 23, 2013 06:10 AM

Mandates with out funds. Lets continue to put it on the taxpayer. And lets put the school bus drivers in the same boat as the transit drivers that are falling a sleep due to fixed log books.

Bob Magee    |    Oct 22, 2013 07:02 AM

I agree with this bill. I am a school Bus driver and I have been told for the past 4 years this was coming. Our Administrators have been working with our insurance provider to obtain a health screen test to us once a year and as long as our BMI was at range and other concerns of being a CDL driver, we were issued a check for $25.00 to $50.00 depending on our test results. If we didn't meet the expectations we were instructed on what we needed to change. Up to the individual if they took the positive advice and changed it. I did. And with Gods will and an everyday exercise routine I plan to stay this way. If you are covered with medical insurance it's my understanding that they will pay their part for the test.

Pam Vanorsdale    |    Oct 20, 2013 08:59 PM

I can understand the concern for this problem. My worry is the high cost to the cdl holder to take the tests and perhaps receive treatment. How will this be handled?

Alida Booth    |    Oct 20, 2013 01:47 PM

I have never fallen asleep while driving due to sleep apnea, it's been from lack of off duty hours that's a requirement these tour bus companies find ways to fudge and or lie on log books and also keep a second log book to show C.H.P. this is were the FMCSA should be focusing their efforts along with these others

John Joseph Reele    |    Oct 20, 2013 08:45 AM

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