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Congress raises issue of sleep apnea among truckers

Trucking companies and drivers in North Carolina continue to face uncertainty about testing and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. As things stand now, multiple screening protocols present the trucking industry with inconsistent standards that govern which drivers get sent for medical tests. Truckers sometimes claim that they are unfairly targeted for medical tests and that the process is just meant to benefit sleep apnea testing companies and makers of treatment devices. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have filed bills meant to compel the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to administer consistent rules across the industry.

During 2016, the agency had been developing standards for screening truckers for the condition and treatment protocols. The agency’s Medical Advisory Board had gathered information from the trucking industry and the public.

In 2017, however, the agency set aside the proposed regulations. In response to the abandonment of the issue, legislatures hope to revive the matter. The establishment of national rules regarding the detection and treatment of the medical condition among truckers would eliminate confusion within the trucking industry.

Federal trucking regulations exist to support the goal of safe transport. Problems like truck driver fatigue, unqualified truck drivers and negligent truck maintenance contribute to serious accidents. A person hurt in a truck accident might miss substantial time from work, incur high medical expenses and even face long-term disability. However, a lawyer could help a victim gather sufficient evidence to file insurance claims or even a lawsuit. An attorney could look for violations of trucking regulations or traffic violations on the part of the trucker. Such evidence might convince an insurer to pay an adequate settlement to compensate the injured person.

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