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."