House’s sleep apnea bill on transportation committee’s Thursday agenda

Trucker Tim Edit004The House bill designed to require any FMCSA action on sleep disorder screening come in the form of rulemaking instead of guidance will be considered by the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Thursday, Sept. 19, says Nick McGee, press secretary for Rep. Larry Buschon (R-Md.), one of the bill’s sponsors.

The bill was introduced last week and, if passed, would force the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to use the formal rulemaking process if it were to pursue action on making carriers screen, diagnose and treat sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea.

McGee did not say the bill would come to a vote Thursday, but only that the committee would be considering it.

Buschon and co-sponsor Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) said in a letter to House colleagues that any guidance the agency was planning to issue would close the industry $1 billion or more annually. By pursuing a formal rule instead of guidance, the regulation could be properly evaluated and allow both FMCSA and industry stakeholders — like carriers — to weigh the rule’s costs vs. its benefits.

As reported last week, the bill does not by itself require that FMCSA make a rule. It only requires that if the agency take action on sleep disorder screening, it come in the form of a rule.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations support the bill.

However, according to, the bill has only a 27 percent chance of getting past the T&I Committee and a 7 percent chance of being enacted.