​“ATA believes that if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to regulate sleep apnea, it should do so through the normal, established regulatory process rather than through informal guidance,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “The rulemaking process allows for medical experts, the regulated community, including professional drivers, to provide valuable data and input for the agency to consider in developing its regulations. A formal rulemaking will also require an analysis of the benefits and costs of regulating sleep apnea, an analysis not required for the issuance of guidance.”

FMCSA officials have indicated they intend to issue guidance as a means of quickly addressing sleep apnea in the professional driver population.

“This is not an insignificant step,” Graves said. “There are more than 3 million professional truck drivers and the cost of screening, diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea could easily exceed $1 billion annually. Taking a step as potentially costly as that shouldn’t be undertaken lightly and outside of the normal processes.”

Bucshon and Lipinski’s bill is also supported by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the American Bus Association, the United Motorcoach Association, the National School Transportation Association and the United Brotherhood of Teamsters.