FMCSA Sleep Apnea Standards
Driving requires you to be attentive and alert at all times. Yet there are no regulations saying a commercial driver must be screened for sleep disorders, which can impact his or her ability to react on the road, more or less stay awake. We are frequently asked about FMCSA guidelines and recommendations concerning FMCSA sleep apnea standards. At this time, the FMCSA Advisory Criteria which are recommendations for medical examiners to use in determining physical qualifications for commercial driving include the following concerning respiratory dysfunctions.
“A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with the ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely
Since a driver must be alert at all times, any change in his or her mental state is in direct conflict with highway safety. Even the slightest impairment in respiratory function under emergency conditions (when greater oxygen supply is necessary for performance) may be detrimental to safe driving.
If the medical examiner detects a respiratory dysfunction, that in any way 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.”
Basically, if you are a commercial driver who has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, is at a high risk of having sleep apnea, have been recommended to take a sleep study by your DOT or Occupational Physician you must have clearance from a specialist to comply by the FMCSA sleep apnea standards. How important are the FMCSA sleep apnea standards? Research test designed to mimic driving performance by the Divided Attention Driving Task, saw that individuals with sleep apnea perform, on average, as poorly as individuals whose levels of blood alcohol concentration exceed the legal limit (U.S. Department of Transportation). So as you can see, there’s more to sleep apnea than snoring or tossing and turning. Meeting the FMCSA sleep apnea standards could be the difference from a job well-done and an accident waiting to happen.
Under the guidance of our Board Certified Sleep Physicians we provide a turn-key solution by offering in-home sleep studies, therapy and compliance management at a fraction of the cost of in-lab studies. Complying with the FMCSA sleep apnea standards not only helps you on the job, it helps you in your everyday life. We proudly offer 24-hour clinical support to our patients to ensure successful treatment and compliance with the FMCSA sleep apnea standards. Click the link below to get started today!