Criteria Checked for Sleep Apnea by the FMCSA

Criteria Checked for Sleep Apnea by the FMCSA

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can seriously affect a person’s ability to drive.  A person can’t fall asleep at the wheel because it is an accident waiting to happen. The FMCSA has issued an informative bulletin, which highlights and clarifies its position on the difficult subject of sleep apnea.

In 2000, the FMCSA released the criteria in relation to sleep apnea.  It highlighted the importance of the condition. They have decided to go over some of the key points, which they feel are important to understand and to abide by.

If a certified medical examiner looks at a patient and they feel that the condition could affect their driving, then it is important that the individual goes for further testing.  They must first look at all the risk factors before determining if there is a case for the driver to continue commercial driving and be given a medical certificate to indicate they are fit to drive. This certificate comes with a timeline in which they must go through the screening process again.

One major problem that affects the commercial driving industry is the lack of qualified and experienced drivers. The OSA condition does pose a risk to the industry in retaining drivers or seeking new people to train in this industry.

It is important that OSA is treated and dealt with because it is not something that anybody wants to have to face. However, it is important that the other drivers on the highways are as safe as possible.  Preventing a commercial driver from driving if they have OSA can keep them safe.  A certified medical examiner should consider if they need to investigate further before deciding on the medical certification.

While it is difficult to understand OSA and the reasons it happens, it is not under question that it needs to be treated. What is important is the treatment or the opinion offered by a certified medical examiner, who makes the decision on issuing the medical certificate.