DOT Agencies Hosting Three Meetings on Sleep Apnea

The public listening sessions will begin May 12 in Washington, D.C., before moving to Chicago and Los Angeles. Stakeholders also may submit written comments until June 8.

Two DOT agencies, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration, will host three public listening sessions next month to solicit information on the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among workers in safety-sensitive positions in highway and rail transportation. The agencies also are accepting written comments until June 8.

They're asking about OSA's potential consequences for rail and highway transportation safety and and the potential costs and benefits from regulatory actions that address the risks. The two agencies published an ANPRM in March 2016 about this topic.

The meetings will take place:

  • May 12 in Washington, D.C., at the National Association of Home Builders, 1201 15th Street NW
  • May 17 in Chicago at the Marriott Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River North, 30 E. Hubbard Street
  • May 25 in Los Angeles at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, 404 S. Figueroa Street

All three sessions will run from 10 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. local time. The two agencies, FMCSA and FRA, also will post information on their websites for how to participate in the meetings via the Internet.

Written comments may be submitted via www.regulations.gov; search for Docket Numbers FMCSA–2015–0419 and FRA–2015–0111.

Among the questions they're asking are how OSA prevalence varies by age, and if the prevalence differs from that of the general population, why is that? Also being asked is whether there are studies and other information available for estimating the future consequences resulting from individuals with OSA occupying safety-sensitive transportation positions in the absence of new restrictions, for example, does any organization track the number of historical motor carrier or train accidents caused by OSA, and, with respect to rail, how would any OSA regulation and the current positive train control system requirements interrelate? And which categories of transportation workers with safety-sensitive duties should be required to undergo screening for OSA, and wat alternative forms and degrees of restriction could FMCSA and FRA place on the performance of safety-sensitive duties by transportation workers with moderate-to-severe OSA, and how effective would these restrictions be in improving transportation safety?

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