Senators introduce sleep testing bill

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Friday, September 29, 2017

WASHINGTON – A bill that seeks to require the Secretary of Transportation to implement a rule to test and treat commercial transportations workers for sleep apnea was introduced Sept. 28.

The bill, S. 1883, is sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and co-sponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

In August, the same group of senators sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation asking why the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrationscrapped a proposal to require sleep apnea testing of transportation workers. The FMCSA has been working on guidelines for testing and treating commercial drivers for sleep apnea for nearly a decade and it held public comment sessions on whether to require testing in 2016.

“In the face of compelling facts that show sleep apnea is a direct cause of several tragic train accidents, the Trump administration has backed off a new mandatory testing rule,” said Schumer in a release.“This is dangerous and ill-advised. A federal law would force all rail lines to conduct these tests in perpetuity and with clear federal guidelines. Across-the-board sleep apnea testing must be law of the land for train operators and commercial drivers to help ensure us that the tragedies that happened in Brooklyn and in Hoboken will be prevented in the future.”