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Safety for Fleet Drivers

Fleet driver safetyis becoming stricter due to the rising concern of dangers associated with undiagnosed sleep apnea.  Truck drivers must receive a DOT physical to maintain their CDL certification.  If the DOT physician believes the driver fits the criteria of a person at risk for sleep apnea they may require the driver to have a sleep study.  The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board suggest that medical examiners should already be screening for sleep apnea and any driver with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater must be evaluated for sleep apnea.  The reason they chose stricter screening on the BMI percentage is research has shown that BMI, which is a measure of the body fat based on the height and weight, is the biggest indicator that a person has sleep apnea.  The  DOT guidelines for sleep apneastates "a person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) if that person has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with his/her ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely. If the medical examiner detects a respiratory dysfunction, that in anyway is likely to interfere with the driver's ability to safely control and drive a commercial motor vehicle, the driver must be referred to a specialist for further evaluation and therapy." .  Many companies in the transportation industry are stepping in the right direction towards a fleet driver safety program by implementing a sleep disorder program or an overall wellness program.  Including or having a sleep disorder program for fleet driver safety is something that can benefit the driver greatly as well as the company.  It is important for fleet driver safety programs to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to driver safety and that is what the FMCSA is striving towards as well as DOT physicians themselves, with the help of FMCSA we will have a safe workforce in the trucking industry.