The Teamsters Union helped score a victory for truck drivers this week when H.R. 3095 was signed into law compelling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to follow the formal rulemaking process to set strict guidelines for when they can require screening, testing and treatment for sleep apnea.
FMCSA was prepared to circumvent the rulemaking process by offering “guidance” on the testing and treatment of sleep apnea in the trucking industry. Unlike the formal rulemaking process, agency-issued guidance does not permit input from stakeholders. This could have led to drivers being required to take expensive and unnecessary tests that they would have to pay for. In response to this threat, the Teamsters joined with truck and bus industry stakeholders to mobilize and pressure Congress to introduce and pass the legislation.
“This law, which passed the House with a unanimous vote, protects millions of working men and women who turn a key for a living from being forced to spend money on a test they may not need at the whim of a federal agency,” said Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa. “The FMCSA will now have to address this through the formal regulatory process and allow the public to have a voice in the process.”
The agency will now be required to listen to drivers, doctors and carriers and analyze how much sleep apnea testing will cost. The medical studies that the agency is basing its rulemaking on will also be subject to public scrutiny. Sleep apnea tests can cost thousands of dollars, depending on how many nights a driver’s sleep habits are monitored.
“Times are tight for many working families,” Hoffa said. “We cannot allow federal regulators to make uninformed decisions that will cost millions of people a lot of money that they can’t afford to spend right now.”