No Testing of Truckers for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Truck Driver

Two federal agencies—the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)—have withdrawn a rule they put forth in March, 2016, concerning testing for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This action was taken despite the fact that OSA has been demonstrated to cause “unintended sleep episodes and resulting deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, and memory, thus reducing the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety-sensitive duties.” The two agencies are on record in calling OSA “a critical safety issue that can affect operations in all modes of travel in the transportation industry.” The agencies proposed testing for moderate to severe OSA among those who held “safety-sensitive positions” on our highways and on the rails. The FMCSA and FRA withdrew the proposed rule on August 8, 2017, even though they had called OSA “an on-going concern.” The current response from the agencies is that OSA can be adequately handled through existing rules and safety programs. Why is OSA Significant When It Comes to Safety? OSA sufferers can awaken dozens of times each night because of breathing problems. Doing so steals their rest, which translates into uncontrollable daytime drowsiness. Treatments shown to remedy the problem include pressurized[…..]

Truck Hits and Possibly Damages Overpass in Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun reported this week that a recent accident in which a large flatbed truck struck a Baltimore Beltway overpass sent debris and metal in the path of oncoming cars. The flatbed truck, owned by the company Six M Co. Inc. of Whiteford, was carrying an excavator from a nearby construction site. The southbound truck could not fit beneath the bridge, which had a clearance of 16 feet and 4 inches. A Maryland state spokesperson explained that the truck driver did not lower the equipment enough to go underneath the overpass, so the large equipment hit the structure and sent debris (including an overhead sign and chains) onto the roads and into oncoming traffic. Truck driver negligence, such as this, is often the cause of big rig accidents in Maryland. State officials closed two of three lanes on the outer loop of the Baltimore Beltway and the two right-hand lanes of Interstate 95 southbound while the debris was cleared. The state’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division is reviewing company records and reconstructing the accident to see if any charges will be filed or penalties assessed. Large trucks are required to have a state permit if they exceed a height of[…..]