Committee to address sleep apnea, EOBR driver harassment issues

By Land Line staff | Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A federally appointed committee meets in early February to finalize recommendations for a rulemaking on obstructive sleep apnea and commercial vehicle operators. The meeting is open to the public. The committee is also addressing a court mandate that ensures electronic on-board recorders are not used to harass vehicle operators.

The meeting, scheduled from Feb. 6 to 9 in Alexandria, VA, is being conducted by the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, or MCSAC, whose members are appointed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer is a member of the 18-member committee.

On the first day, Feb. 6, MCSAC will conduct a joint meeting with the FMCSA’s Medical Review Board to consider subcommittee recommendations made in December 2011 regarding truck and bus drivers and obstructive sleep apnea. 

The subcommittees are recommending that drivers with a body mass index of 35 or greater be required to undergo tests for sleep apnea. Drivers identified to have potential sleep problems could be disqualified from driving according to those recommendations.

Once finalized by a joint committee, the recommendations would then move up the ladder to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro for consideration of a rulemaking.

On the topic of electronic on-board recorders, MCSAC members will address a court ruling from last year that vacated the administration’s rule to mandate EOBRs for trucking companies with substandard hours-of-service compliance. That rule also contained technical specifications for the devices.

OOIDA filed a lawsuit against the FMCSA for failing to address the issue of driver harassment through EOBRs in the rulemaking. On Aug. 26, 2011, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in OOIDA’s favor and ordered FMCSA to vacate the EOBR rule.

According to the MCSAC meeting agenda, committee members will consider ways the agency can address the court mandate in a future EOBR rulemaking.

A third item on the meeting agenda is dedicated to hours of service for drivers of passenger-carrying commercial vehicles.

Meeting times on Feb. 6, 7 and 8 are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern. The committee will meet from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Feb. 9. The location is the second-floor meeting rooms at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town, 1767 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314.

The committee will receive oral comments from the public during the last hour of each of the meetings on Feb. 6, 7, and 8, and during the last 15 minutes of meeting time on Feb. 9. Written comments on the meeting topics are being accepted through the end of Wednesday, Feb. 1 online at regulations.gov and by fax at 202-493-2251.

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