The National Transportation Safety Board made it perfectly clear: they want trucking regulators to institute sleep apnea screening requirements. The requirement is thus far nothing but an item on a wish list, because the trucking lobby is powerful, and largely dead-set against additional regulations.
According to Overdrive, a trucking trade magazine, the Top 10 Most Wanted List for safety regulations also includes mandated use of crash avoidance tech on trucks and trailers, and a nationwide ban on electronics use while driving. Writer James Jaillet writes that the “bevy of regulations” also includes a general admonition for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to “improve their oversight of operators, drivers and vehicles.”
NTSB’s request for improved oversight also includes requirements that all trucks be equipped with collision warning technology, tire pressure monitoring systems, rollover stability control systems, and lane departure warning systems. Under the heading of Greater medical requirements, the “NTSB says truck operators should be subject to more and stricter medical requirements, including procedures to identify risk of sleep disorders. Qualification of medical examiners should be limited to those who have the ability to prescribe medicine and have access to information about conditions that could disqualify patients from operating commercial equipment.”
If the comment section on Overdrive is a representative sampling of truckers, the NTSB may have quite a fight on its hands. “Sleep apnea isn’t [sic] nothing but a scam,” wrote one commenter. “If sleep apnea testing ever becomes mandatory, I’m out,” wrote another commenter.