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Sleep Apnea Rule Moves Closer to Finalization

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Last week, both the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Medical Review Board (MRB) approved guidelines for a potential new mandate for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) testing. Approved by a vote of 16-4, these guidelines follow similar suggestions approved solely by the MRB back in August which include requiring OSA testing for:

a.Individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥ 40 mg/kg2
b.Individuals with a BMI ≥ 33 and < 40 mg/kg2 in addition to and at least 3 or more of the following:
     i.Hypertension (untreated)
     ii. Type 2 diabetes
     iii. History of stroke, coronary artery disease, or arrhythmias
     iv. Micrognathia or retrognathia
     v. Loud snoring
     vi. Witnessed apneas
     vii. Small airway/Mallampati score
     viii. Neck size > 17 inches (male), 15.5 inches (female)
     ix. Hypothyroidism (untreated)
     x. Age 42 and older or
     xi. Male or post-menopausal female

This development comes on the heels of a court opinion earlier this month in Parker vs. Crete from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in which the court ruled that carriers are within their rights to require commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers to be tested for OSA if their BMI is greater than 35. Specifically, "Crete Carrier Corporation required its truck drivers with Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) of 35 or greater to get medical examinations to determine whether they had obstructive sleep apnea. Crete ordered driver Robert J. Parker to undergo an examination because his BMI was over 35. Parker refused. Crete stopped giving Parker work. Parker sued Crete, alleging it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring the examination and discriminating on the basis of a perceived disability." The court ruled that Crete’s policy was "legitimate and non-discriminatory." The court’s ruling will likely be used as support for a potential final OSA screening mandate. Click here to review the opinion.

The next step toward new requirements for mandating OSA testing will likely come from FMCSA in 2017. NRMCA has previously testified before FMCSA and submitted comments opposing a new OSA screening mandate, citing current regulations and regulatory structure as being sufficient to monitor and treat OSA among CMV drivers, including mixer truck drivers.

For more information, contact  Kevin Walgenbach at

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