The bulletin is not expected to dramatically change the way things are now. Other than interpretive guidance that was put into place in 2000 requiring specialist referrals in cases where respiratory dysfunction, such as sleep apnea, is apparent, there is no other regulatory guidance in place.
The expected content of the bulletin does not mean that a rule pertaining to sleep apnea screening will not be forthcoming. FMCSA’s acting administrator indicated that the agency will request information from stakeholders in the industry to sort out the safety benefits and costs connected to a sleep apnea screening rule.
If drowsy driving leads to a truck accident it is possible that those involved as occupants of other vehicles will be seriously hurt. On these occasions the recovery can take a long period of time and could possibly result in permanent disability. This can dramatically change a person’s life and lead to great expense.
Whether an accident with a tractor trailer is due to drowsy driving or another negligent behavior it is important for those who have been hurt to understand that they may be able to seek compensation via a personal injury lawsuit.
Source: Overdrive, “Driver sleep apnea screening: FMCSA to issue clarification to medical examiners,” James Jaillet, Dec. 2, 2014