Monthly Archives: May 2016

Should all drivers be tested for sleep apnea?

Members involved with the trucking, railroad and medical industries spoke out on the possibility of mandated sleep apnea testing during the first of three public listening sessions on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to receive feedback about any potential obstructive sleep apnea regulations on March 10. The 90-day comment period ends June 8.

Veteran owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Dick Pingel and the American Trucking Associations’ Megan Bush, were among those who questioned whether crash statistics supported the need for a sleep apnea regulation.

“You can’t determine if there is a link between sleep apnea and the risk of crashing,” said Pingel, who is from Plover, Wis., and has been trucking for more than 35 years. “A driver can be tired for many reasons. They may be physically tired after securing a load or mentally tired after having a rough day that was emotionally draining.”

Pingel, who has more than 3.25 million accident-free miles, said the cost to truck drivers is too much.

“If a certified medical examiner tells me I must get tested for some arbitrary reason such as neck size, that appointment requires time off the road,” Pingel said. “It would be based on an assumption that a driver with sleep apnea somehow poses a risk. A real risk is to replace me with a brand-new driver who has zero years of experience going over mountains and dealing with other drivers. CMEs are getting kickbacks for referrals. Drivers are being told they must be tested in a sleep lab, which costs thousands of dollars.

“I’m asking you to objectively evaluate information you receive to determine if there is a link between sleep apnea and crashes. You need to take action to ensure the drivers are not used as a bottomless ATM. That is an unfortunate reality that needs to stop so we can keep experienced drivers on the road for a very long career.”

According to research on sleep apnea published by FMCSA and authored by Dr. Allan Pack of the University of Pennsylvania, “there is no statistical evidence in these data to suggest that the presence of sleep apnea significantly increases the likelihood or the risk of motor vehicle crashes.”

In addition, the percentage of large truck crashes related to drowsiness, asleep at the wheel, and/or fatigue has been consistently low. According to Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2014, only 1.8 percent of crashes reported a fatigued or sleeping driver.

As part of the FMCSA’s and FRA’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, the Department of Transportation cited only one incident of an accident involving a tractor-trailer that was blamed on sleep apnea. The accident occurred 16 years ago, and the report indicated several other factors as potential causes of the crash.

“As with any regulation, requiring obstructive sleep apnea screening and treatment for commercial truck drivers should be based on sound data and analysis,” said Megan Bush, manager of safety policy for the ATA. “FMCSA must consider the prevalence of severe OSA among the workforce, the potential cost to drivers and the supply chain to address it, and the corresponding safety benefits of doing so.”

Bush also said that not all of the accidents that involve fatigue have anything to do with sleep apnea.

“We must determine how many of those crashes are the result of sleep disorders versus other causes, such as failure to obtain adequate and proper rest,” she said. “We’re against rushing to impose a hastily conceived rule given the potential impact on drivers and the supply chain. A cautious and informed approach is necessary.”

There were also several doctors who discussed the dangers of sleep apnea.

“Every cell in your body needs oxygen if you are depleting those because you can’t breathe and can’t exhale,” Dr. Richard Klein said. “If you don’t get the nutrition of oxygen, that cell deteriorates. … It causes Type 2 diabetes, concentration problems, high blood pressure, strokes. I could go on for hours. That is how valuable controlling sleep apnea is for the average person.”

Klein also touted oral appliances as an effective way to treat sleep apnea for individuals who are not comfortable using a CPAP. He said oral devices are easier to transport and can be more cost effective.

“An oral appliance isn’t any better than a CPAP, but it is better than a CPAP in the closet,” he said.

There will also be listening sessions May 17 in Chicago and May 25 in Los Angeles.

Written comments regarding possible sleep apnea requirements can be submitted at the Regulations.gov website or by mailing Docket Services, U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001. You are asked to identify whether you are in the transportation industry or medical profession, but you can choose to remain anonymous.

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer

– See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=31143#.VznpXPkrLIU

Trucker suspected of murdering fellow trucker still on the loose in Florida

Authorities are still searching for a trucker that they say shot and killed another trucker Saturday while driving eastbound on I-10 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Crime Scene

Crime Scene

Witnesses told the Florida Highway Patrol that around 1:50 p.m. a bearded man driving an orange, early-to-mid 2000 Freightliner with a white trailer pulled up alongside another semi-tractor trailer, bumped into it and then shot the driver who veered off the road and crashed in the woods.

FHP said they found 44-year-old New Jersey resident George Guerrero dead at the wheel about a half-mile west of Chaffee Road (Exit 351) on the west side of Jacksonville.

Besides FHP, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office are also investigating the murder. Evidence has been collected from the highway, including broken glass, news4jax.com reported.

Investigators plan on reviewing the contents of the black box in Guerrero’s truck to learn how fast he had been traveling along with other details.

Weigh stations and law enforcement along I-10 and Interstate 95 have been told to be on the look-out for the shooter’s truck.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or by email at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous are asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. Callers to Crime Stoppers may receive an award of up to $3,000.

Story from overdriveonline.com

April’s Employee of the Month

Congratulations to Esric Davis, ReedTMS Logistics’ employee of the month. He has only been here a short period of time but he has certainly made an impression.

Some of the comments were as follows:

“It’s great to see a new face add such positive change and attitude into the business. His efforts have saved ReedTMS a lot of money and he does so with a smile. He’s a great addition to the team and sets a solid example for others to follow.”

“In the short time Esric has been with the company he has refurbished about 24 computers and 6 laptops that were going to be trashed. By taking the time to see if these computers could be saved and refurbishing them he saved the company around $20,000.00. I believe this deserves a spin on the wheel.”

“We now have computers in the training room, spare computers for new hires, and spare computers for replacements. Very excited to see the new changes and I must give thanks to Ezra. He also has a great attitude.”

Keep up the good work!

 

Will we soon see yet another change to HOS?

Following the news last week of an appropriations-bill measure that could hold import for change in cumulative on-duty limits in the hours of service, readers sounded off again on just where they feel the hours of service should be. Responses ranged from “leave well enough alone already” to pleas for simpler regs and an oft-repeated desire for a return to pre-14-hour-rule regs, when it was possible to split sleeper periods in any way desired.Driver_fill_out_logP011360-tn

In essence, the change the Senate bill specifies would rely on the outcome of a DOT study, also required by Congress, that is in the process of assessing whether June 2013 restart rules were more or less safe than the rule implemented in July that year. If the study is certified to show that the pre-July 2013 restart rule is the better one, truckers would continue to be able to utilize the restart any time, as they are today. But upon use of a restart, an on-duty limit of 73 hours in the prior 7 days would come into play.

Essentially, users of the restart would be required to recap the prior 7 days to be certain they remain under a 73-hour on-duty limit over that time period, while limited by 70 hours in 8 days (or 60 in 7, depending on the rule utilized) ahead of them.

“Must have an ELD just to compute my hours, crazy!” quipped one reader under the news here on OverdriveOnline.com, summing up a lot of the frustration with the complexity of and pace of change within the hours of service that has been the norm over the last decade.

Read the full story here.