ATA takes stand on sleep disorder regs, elects Card chairman

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Updated Oct 11, 2012

Sleep Apnea

The board of directors of the American Trucking Associations on Wednesday, Oct. 10, urged that any future government decisions on sleep disorder screening for commercial drivers be made following a regular science-based process. The new policy was approved at ATA’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nev.

“Fatigue and driver health are two serious issues facing the trucking industry,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “However, as important as it is to address those issues, it is equally important for the federal government to use the regulatory process – with its emphasis on science-based outcomes and cost-benefit analyses.”

ATA’s new policy reads in part that any effort to address sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea should be done “through rulemaking and not through the publication of regulatory guidance,” and that those rules focus on “conditions that pose a substantially elevated crash risk based on sound data and analysis, be cost beneficial and promote effective treatments that minimize the impact to motor carriers.”

“We know that federal regulators are looking to address the issue of sleep disorders,” said Mike Card, president of Combined Transport of Central Point, Ore., and newly elected ATA chairman. “What we are doing today is asking the government to follow its own normal processes and do this properly. Our industry can and will support smart, sensible cost-beneficial regulation. “Critical driver health issues such as screening and treatment for sleep disorders must be addressed using sound science and cost-benefit analyses.”

Card is the federation’s 68th chairman. “It is a tremendous honor to be selected by one’s peers to represent them,” he said. “I hope to do America’s trucking industry proud this year. It is not secret that our nation and our industry are at a crossroads – with looming changes in hours-of-service, a steady but still slow economic recovery and a federal government threatening to impose even more onerous regulations on our industry while all the while underinvesting in the highway system we depend on. I truly believe that in order to overcome this myriad of challenges, we need to continue to work together as an industry, and I hope to play a role in doing that.”

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Card takes over as chairman from Dan England, chairman of C.R. England Inc. of Salt Lake City. “Mike is emblematic of what makes our industry great,” Graves said. “The son of a driver-turned-entrepreneur and the leader of a family business, Mike will be a tremendous ambassador for ATA and for trucking.”