Truckers and Sleep Apnea

May 1, 2017

Almost a quarter (24 percent) of respondents reported health issues as being a reason for truck driver turnover, according to the HireRight Transportation Spotlight. Life on the road is an extremely physically demanding occupation and certain health issues can be made worse by driving. One of which is sleep apnea.

The FMCSA’s guidelines state that if a driver has a BMI greater than 35 or admits to experiencing sleepiness while driving, they must undergo a sleep study. If a driver’s OSA apnea/hypopnea index, or AHI, severity is greater than 20 events per hour, they must wear a CPAP. At that point, the driver must prove they are in compliance with their CPAP usage to retain their certification.

The Owner–Operator Independent Drivers Association, or OOIDA, has expressed opposition to any rules the FMCSA might propose in regards to sleep apnea testing standards, however. Any regulatory process would pass a significant cost to carriers and have “potentially capacity-draining ramifications”.

Both testing and treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA, can be expensive. Often the cost is an out-of-pocket expense carried by the driver themselves. Studies show that drivers often do not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for screening and treatment after being referred following USDOT-mandated medical exams.

Although drivers are often aware of their OSA symptoms, few voluntarily undergo a sleep study. This is thanks in part to the negative connotation of CPAP therapy. We’re working to change that. Your health is always our number one goal. We offer more flexible work schedules to help you stay on track.