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ATA: Use science-based process to develop any sleep apnea decisions

The ATA says any effort to address sleep disorders should be in the form of a rulemaking rather than regulatory guidance. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker News Services

10/10/2012

LAS VEGAS — The Board of Directors of American Trucking Associations Wednesday 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 here during ATA’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition.

 “Fatigue and driver health are two serious issues facing the trucking industry,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “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, like 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, Central Point, Ore., and new 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,” Card said. “Critical driver health issues, such as screening and treatment for sleep disorders, must be addressed using sound science and cost-benefit analyses.”

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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