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Congress pushes FMCSA for sleep apnea screening rules

Back in 2016, through the efforts of Democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began working on a rule that would set up criteria by which medical examiners could refer truck drivers for a sleep apnea test. However, in August of 2017, the FMCSA officially announced that it had tabled the rule. Whether the decision will remain final is an issue that can affect many in Pennsylvania and across the U.S.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a major cause of road accidents, and there is much confusion due to the existence of several screening protocols. Many drivers have complained of unwarranted referrals, and some have begun to suspect that their doctors, together with sleep apnea testing companies and treatment device manufacturers, are taking advantage of a gray area in regulation.

Democrats in both chambers of Congress have filed two separate bills, once again demanding that the FMCSA institute clear testing and treatment regulations. In the initial effort, the FMCSA had gone so far as to field suggestions from the Medical Advisory Board as well as from trucking industry stakeholders before withdrawing at the pre-rule stage.

When someone is injured by a truck driver with sleep apnea, it's important that he or she hires a lawyer that keeps up with changes in the law. Filing an injury claim after a truck accident requires a person to gather evidence of the other party's negligence and negotiate with the trucking company's team of lawyers. An attorney may be able to handle both tasks and even hire investigators when necessary. After determining whether the guilt lies more on the driver or the company, a lawyer will make sure the claim covers all the damages for which his or her client is eligible, including medical expenses and lost wages.

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