Have you heard the news? Nearly All Truck Drivers Will Require Sleep Apnea Testing According To New GuidelinesThe FMCSA’s Medical Review Board recently published a list of strict guidelines that require the testing and treatment of sleep apnea in truck drivers. According to these new guidelines, a trucker must be tested for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) if they meet at least one of the below criteria:
He or she has a body mass index is greater than or equal to 40
His or her body mass index is greater than or equal to 33 and he or she meets at least three of the following additional criteria:
- Age 42 or older
- Male or postmenopausal female
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Neck size greater than 17 inches (males) or 15.5 inches (females)
- History of heart disease or stroke
- Loud snoring
- Has had witnessed apneas
- Small airway to the lungs
- Untreated hypothyroidism or hypertension
- Has micrognathia or retrognathia
As you can imagine, many drivers were not happy with the recommendations, claiming that an overwhelming majority of them would end up falling under the criteria and would, therefore, require treatment. For example, a 42-year-old male would only need one other symptom to require the testing.
Sleep Apnea Testing And Recovery For Truck Drivers
Under the new guidelines, the FMCSA would allow truck drivers with an OSA diagnosis to continue driving IF they are treated and healed to an acceptable level.
The board also concluded that re-testing would be required for those drivers who meet the following criteria:
- Tested mildly or even negatively for OSA
- Another health risk factor comes into play such as high blood pressure or blood glucose levels
- A driver’s weight increases by ten percent
Annual Health Testing For Truck Drivers
If you’re a trucker who meets the diagnosis for any form of sleep apnea, you can bet you’ll now be subjected to an annual medical certification PLUS mandatory treatment. Treatments noted by the FMCSA were the use of a CPAP machine or specific surgeries.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) greatly opposes these new recommendations. The association also brought up the concern of cost and practicality for truck drivers as the costs of testing and treatment for OSA can be extremely pricey, even when insurance is used. What are your thoughts on these new guidelines?