We strive to improve CDL driver health and safety by staying current on safety regulations, policy changes and industry standards. Learn more about our recommendations for drivers here.
Driver safety is becoming more strict due to the rising concern of the dangers associated with undiagnosed sleep apnea. Truck drivers must receive a DOT physical to maintain their CDL certification. If the DOT physician believes the driver fits the criteria of a person at risk for sleep apnea, they may require the driver to have a sleep study.
Indicators & Screening
The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board suggest that medical examiners should screen any driver with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater. The reason they chose strict screening related to BMI percentage is because research has shown that BMI, which is a measure of the body fat based on the height and weight, is the biggest indicator that a person has sleep apnea.
Fleet Driver Safety Programs
Many companies in the transportation industry are leaning towards a fleet driver safety program by implementing a sleep disorder program or an overall wellness program. Including a sleep disorder program for fleet driver safety is something that can benefit the driver as well as the company. It is important for these programs to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to driver safety, and that is what the FMCSA and DOT physicians are striving for.
Sleep apnea treatment is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to driver safety. A driver experiencing untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is as much as 7 times more likely than non-sufferers to be involved in a motor vehicle crash. To address this, sleep programs can be implemented to improve driver health and increase fleet vehicle safety.
In this age of technology, a company can take advantage of many solutions to protect drivers, customers and the company’s bottom line. GPS, parking aids, navigation, Bluetooth and backup cameras are the fastest electronics needs in the trucking industry today. The cost ratio of whether the expense of a product will justify reducing risk, liability and expenses is another important factor when considering an electronic solution to maintain fleet vehicle safety.
The blind zone of a vehicle can vary, so backup cameras are a visual solution to assist the driver. These cameras are only effective when the driver is looking at the monitor. The best of both worlds is a system that combines the rear camera with rear sensors so you can have both visual and audio notification. GPS navigation allows the driver and company to successfully manage the route and become more efficient and profitable.
These devices can have a positive, successful influence on company management of trucker safety as well as driver consistency.
In the transportation industry, having a sleep program in place for private fleet safety can put your company ahead of the game in regards to the FMCSA recommendations on sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea in truck drivers. A sleep disorder program can also keep the private fleet drivers and the public safe from accidents caused by fatigue and sleep disorders. This program can lower health care costs and supports higher driver retention rates.
FMCSA & Sleep Apnea Regulations
About one-third of the commercial driver population remains untreated for sleep apnea. One of the biggest risk factors for sleep apnea is a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater, which is one of the main things physicians are looking at when screening for the disorder.
According to FMCSA rule 391.41(b)(5): A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with the ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely.
How We Help
Litigators are currently referencing truck drivers who have fatal accidents because of untreated sleep disorders as a base for civil lawsuits. There have been several lawsuits resulting in multi-million dollar settlements against various trucking companies. Having a sleep disorder program in place with a private fleet safety program can lessen the chance of being in that situation.
With Aeroflow Industrial, drivers can be screened with a simple survey, tested in the comfort of their home, be treated properly for the sleep disorder, and monitor compliance so they are in good standing per DOT recommendations.