Heavy Duty Trucking

NOV 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

Issue link: https://heavydutytrucking.epubxp.com/i/413586

Contents of this Issue


Page 17 of 125

16 HDT • NOVEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com WASHINGTONreport Congressmen concerned about sleep apnea training Two congressmen told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that some of the organizations providing sleep apnea training to medical examiners are teaching the wrong material. President Obama last year signed a law requiring the agency to write a rule covering sleep disorders, rather than handling them through guidance to medical examiners. But Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., who wrote the law, now say some trainers are giving medical examiners incorrect information. In a letter to acting FMCSA chief Scott Darling, Buc- shon and Lipinski said the agency should tell its approved training organizations not to follow any specific steps with respect to sleep apnea testing and treatment. "Specific steps means that they are not to follow the specific steps in the training materials or provide guidance in the absence of a rulemaking," said Lipinski spokesman Isaac Sancken. "All it says is that medical examiner training organiza- tions aren't to give specific steps as there technically aren't any in the absence of a rulemaking." The congressmen said the agency may not be involved with the curriculum, but they are troubled that the training organizations are listed on the FMCSA web site. They want the agency to tell the trainers to remove from their materials any references to recom- mendations by the Medical Re- view Board, the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the agency itself. That information is available online but it is not supposed to be on the formal medical guidance for examiners. Bucshon and Lipinski also want the agency to tell examiners who have already been trained to correct their practices. "It is imperative that FMCSA address these issues as soon as possible," they said. "These faulty training courses are keeping qualified drivers off the road." The congressmen also want the agency to say when it will start the sleep apnea rulemaking. This situation arises from concern in the industry about the agency's former plan to address sleep apnea by beefing up its long-standing guidance to medical examiners. The agency traditionally relied on guidance to make sure that examiners can spot drivers who may have a sleep disorder. In recent years, as doctors and medical research- ers learned more about sleep disorders, the agency's initial reaction was to pass that information on to examiners by strengthening its guidance. But trucking interests were concerned about that ap- proach because it would not give employers a clear enough statement of their legal responsibilities. The solution was to write a rule that will cover not just the newest understanding of sleep disorders but also the full impact of such a rule, including costs and ben- efits. American Trucking Associations has estimated that the rule will cost $1 bil- lion a year. The agency has said it intends to write the rule but has not yet posted a schedule. ■ PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ BRIAN CHASE General posts his audit. There were too few carriers in the pilot to produce a valid conclusion, Spencer said. "To extrapolate the results to all of trucking in Mexico is a tremendous leap of faith on the part of the agency," he said. OOIDA has for years fought in court and in Congress against giving Mexican carriers rights to operate long-distance into the U.S. Asked if OOIDA plans to challenge this decision in court, Spencer said, "We always assess options." He also noted that some in Congress are likely to weigh in against the decision. The Teamsters union joined in opposition to the move. "Despite claiming this cross-border program would be thoroughly analyzed to ensure the safety of our driving public, the execution of the program has fallen short on multiple levels," said Team- sters General President Jim Hoffa in a statement. American Trucking Associations cheered the move. "ATA supports free trade, and believes in the free movement of goods across the Mexican bor- der," said ATA spokesman Sean McNally. "Trucks move more than 65% of all transnational trade between the U.S. and Mexico and in order to keep our economies efficient and growing, we support our government's efforts under NAFTA to ensure safe, secure and efficient trucking across a largely seamless border." ■

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Heavy Duty Trucking - NOV 2014