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New Bill Will Prohibit DOT From Addressing Sleep Apnea Without Rulemaking

    Client Alerts
  • October 18, 2013

President Obama is expected to sign bipartisan legislation that will prevent the Department of Labor's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from issuing regulatory guidance to address sleep apnea among commercial motor vehicle drivers. The bill followed initial expressions of interest by FMCSA in issuing guidance that would require motor carriers to begin conducting screening for sleep apnea, which the agency suspects may be a significant safety concern.

The law is supported by motor carrier and labor organizations out of concerns over cost and disruption associated with the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. Instead, FMCSA will be required to proceed with formal rulemaking procedures to possibly address safety concerns arising from sleep apnea. This process will allow interested parties to comment about any proposed rules, and will require the agency to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before any final rules are adopted. After the legislation was proposed, FMCSA indicated that it would not issue any guidance without a formal rulemaking.