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Owner-operator lobby group seeks review of sleep apnea regulation

According to a recent filing with the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, or OOIDA, is seeking a rehearing of its argument regarding sleep apnea screenings. The OOIDA claims that a recent rule change by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, violates federal law. These regulations have a direct impact on Kentucky drivers given that they seek to limit collisions related to fatigued driving.

According to the OOIDA, the FMCSA violated a federal statute relating to the regulation of sleep apnea screening in truck drivers. The 2013 law requires the FMCSA to use the formal rule-making process when making any changes to the rules regarding sleep apnea screening. This formal process involves a public notice requirement and comment period, something the FMCSA allegedly did not comply with regarding the recent rule change. The rule in question includes modifications to the forms used by Department of Transportation during driver physicals.

The FMCSA does not agree with OOIDA's assessment, claiming the rule only tweaked forms and did not "substantively change" the rules guiding examinations for sleep apnea. It is the FMCSA's position that sleep apnea testing referrals remain in the hands of individual examiners.

Regulations regarding the sleep of tractor-trailer drivers are important to everyone on the road. Fatigued drivers often suffer from a loss of reaction time that can lead to a higher risk of crashes. An individual injured in a truck accident with a fatigued driver may have a claim for damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An attorney with experience in personal injury law may be able to help that individual by filing a lawsuit seeking those damages. An attorney might also help with the discovery phase of a lawsuit and a negotiated settlement.

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