Sleep apnea comment period extended to July 8

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 6/7/2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration have extended the comment period one month for their advanced notice of proposed rulemaking regarding obstructive sleep apnea.

Comments regarding a potential sleep apnea regulation will now be allowed until July 8. The FMCSA and FRA published the advanced notice of public rulemaking in the Federal Register on March 10, seeking information regarding the evaluation of safety sensitive personnel for moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea. The original comment period was scheduled to end June 8.

The decision by the FMCSA and FRA comes after the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association requested an extension on May 18 so that it could have sufficient time to review the results from the American Transportation Research Institute commercial driver survey on sleep apnea issues, which was released on May 26.

“FMCSA and FRA believe that other potential commenters to this rulemaking will benefit from an extension as well,” the Department of Transportation wrote. “Accordingly, FMCSA and FRA extend the comment period on the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and its related documents to July 8, 2016.”

Scott Grenerth, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs, said he’s pleased the FMCSA and FRA agreed to extend the comment period.

“OOIDA members have been submitting examples of the real-world out of pocket costs they have incurred for obstructive sleep apnea testing and treatment, as well as the stories of the income they’ve lost due to taking time off the road for sleep apnea screening and treatment,” Grenerth said. “This extension provides the opportunity for even more drivers to join in and submit comments.”

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.

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