Inside the divide between docs and Congress, trucking constituencies over sleep apnea


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Also in this edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast: Intro'ing a new dispatch provider in S2 Logistics, with hotshot hauler S2 Transport co-owner Scott Sabatini at its helm and stressing integrity in operations, a response to his own early difficulties. When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board met May 20 in part to take up a revised sleep-apnea-related section of the FMCSA’s official handbook for the fine folks that perform DOT physicals all around the country, doctors on the board discovered that handbook drafters had made pains in that section to remove a detailed set of screening, testing and treatment recommendations. The Medical Review Board had originally come up with those in 2016, when FMCSA was considering pursuing rulemaking around the condition. Those recommendations were then in a draft update to the official medical examiners’ handbook that came to light about a year ago but had yet to be officially published as the agency worked on finalizing an update with the board in an advisory capacity. Handbook drafters as of the May 20 meeting had cut that and added language making it abundantly clear that there was no regulation that required sleep apnea driver screening, referrals for testing or treatment. Board member Michael Kelly worried over that addition in particular, and was joined by the entire board in protest over the lack of specifics. As Truckers for a Cause sleep apnea support group cofounder, and longtime driver Bob Stanton put it recently, commenting in the Overdrive's Trucking Pro group at Linkedin, though, “the Medical Review Board seems to have forgotten what Congress mandated through Public Law 113-45.” Namely, that FMCSA must go through public notice and comment rulemaking in order to issue any further guidance on the condition when it comes to required or recommended screening, testing and treatment guidelines for CDL holders. Dr. Kelley went further, too, expressing disappointment over what he predicted would be the reality if this handbook draft was made final. As was quoted in my report from that day, Kelley beleved "it will be very rare for drivers here on out to be tested and treated for sleep apnea unless they truly want to be." His statement of that disappointment sounded to some truckers in the audience quite differently than how he intended it. Read more background on the MRB meeting and the sleep apnea issue via Find links to S2 Logistics' business pages via the post that houses this podcast at

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