Trucker group challenges sleep apnea regulations

Many Pennsylvania drivers have reason to be concerned about the threat to highway safety posed by truck driver fatigue. Collisions that involve large trucks can be especially devastating to lives and property due to the size and mass of the vehicles involved. Since drowsy truck drivers can cause severe accidents, regulating and testing for risks of fatigue, including sleep apnea, is a major concern.

There is an ongoing lawsuit between the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over sleep apnea testing regulations designed to curb the threat of drowsy truck drivers. OOIDA is challenging guidances related to testing for sleep apnea issued by the government agency as part of overall changes to how medical examinations are conducted for the Department of Transportation. In their lawsuit, the association claims FMCSA violated a 2013 federal law that required new sleep apnea regulations to go through a full rulemaking process with public comment.

FMCSA said that the 2015 guidelines for examinations only implemented pre-existing rules for sleep apnea screening. In a January 2018 decision, a panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the association’s lawsuit; however, OOIDA is now filing for reconsideration of the case before all 12 judges on the federal appeals court.

No matter how this case ends, drowsy and fatigued driving will likely still lead to truck accidents. People who have been hurt in truck accidents caused by negligent and dangerous driving may want to seek compensation for their damages. Personal injury lawyers could help in such pursuits.