New Sleep Apnea Guidelines for Truck Drivers

New guidelines for truck drivers regarding sleep apnea screening have been created. The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and Medical Review Board approved the guidelines this past October. The ultimate authority to approve and put the guidelines into practice is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They are not expected to discuss them until after the new administration takes office. (1)

The sleep apnea guidelines would screen all truck drivers and decide which must undergo sleep tests for obstructive sleep apnea. The testing would be mandatory for drivers with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or over and have admitted fatigue or sleep during wakeful hours. Truck drivers that have been involved in a sleep-related accident in a motor vehicle would also be mandated to be tested. Testing might also be mandatory for drivers with a BMI of at least 33 and have at 3 or more of the 11 risk factors (other than excess weight) for sleep apnea.

The eleven risk factors for sleep apnea are:

  1. Neck circumference
  2. A narrowed airway
  3. Male gender
  4. Increased age
  5. A family history of sleep apnea
  6. Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers
  7. Smoker
  8. Chronic nasal congestion
  9. Heart disorder diagnosis
  10. Use of narcotic pain medications
  11. History of a stroke (2)

 

A study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine estimated that 56,000 motor vehicle accidents a year can be attributed to untreated sleep apnea in the US. (3)

 

Works Cited

  1. Committee approves sleep apnea recommendations. 2016, HME News, Vol 22 (12), pg 16. Http://www.hmenews.com
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Sleep apnea. [Online] 2015. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/risk-factors/con-20020286
  3. Sleep disorders as a cause of motor vehicle collisions. Tulio de Mello, et al. 2013, Int J Prev Med, Vol. 4. PCM3634162.

Laurie M. DeChello, MPH, CPH

Altra Service Professionals (ASP) does not provide medical advice. If you have questions about your illness or treatment, please contact your doctor.

Laurie DeChello, MPH, CPH is the health educator and a co-owner of Altra Service Professionals, Inc. Laurie writes a health blog for the ASP website regarding issues related to respiratory illnesses and treatment. She also assists in keeping the office running smoothly. Laurie teaches college level courses for Kaplan University in the health sciences. She previously taught public health courses at the University of Connecticut and performed epidemiologic research (the spread and control of diseases) also at the University of Connecticut for 11 years. She is widely published in the medical literature. Laurie lives in Ocala, FL with her amazing husband, two adorable boys and two dogs. She enjoys cooking and entertaining at her home. She is also busy keeping up with her two young children. Laurie has her Master’s in Public Health and is also Certified in Public Health. If you have a public health question or would like more information about your illness, please contact her at LaurieD@altraservice.com. She is also available to develop and lead health seminars.

Posted in Sleep Apnea