Truck Driving And Sleep Apnea

Thu, May 31, 2012

In a major step forward for the trucking industry, Trucking Canada has partnered with a sleep studies and CPAP provider to do testing and treatment of drivers who may have sleep apnea.

This decision is a direct result of a decision made by the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee earlier in 2012.  The industry's Medical Review Board adopted 11 recommendations related to sleep apnea in the trucking industry.  One of the most significant of these was the decision to require all drivers with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher to be tested for the condition.

High BMI has long been considered one of the most reliable predictors for the existence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  This decision to routinely test drivers who are likely to have an undiagnosed case of OSA will ensure better treatment for those people who are suffering from the condition ... and better safety on the roads for the drivers as well as other motorists.

In Australia, sleep disorders such as OSA are "notifiable conditions" which must be treated in order for a driver to continue to operate a heavy vehicle or equipment.  Unfortunately, there has been no routine protocol of testing to ensure all OSA sufferers are being treated.  Most studies have found that the vast majority of sleep apnea sufferers are unaware of the condition and so remain undiagnosed and untreated. 

The Canadian decision to begin routine testing is a major step forward.  For more information, visit the TruckingInfo website.