Filed Under:Claims, Auto

Sleep apnea tests for truckers, train operators explored by U.S.

In this In this Dec. 1, 2013 file photo, a Metro-North locomotive lies on its side after derailing in the Bronx borough of New York. The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 that the sleep-deprived engineer nodded off at the controls of the commuter train just before taking a 30 mph curve at 82 mph, causing the derailment that killed four people and injured more than 70. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
In this In this Dec. 1, 2013 file photo, a Metro-North locomotive lies on its side after derailing in the Bronx borough of New York. The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 that the sleep-deprived engineer nodded off at the controls of the commuter train just before taking a 30 mph curve at 82 mph, causing the derailment that killed four people and injured more than 70. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. is taking the first step toward requiring that commercial drivers and railroad workers be tested for a sleep disorder that causes drowsiness and has been linked to fatal wrecks.

Public comment sought

The Transportation Department is seeking public comment in the next 90 days about whether it should mandate sleep tests that had been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board, the DOT announced in a press release Tuesday. It would include drivers of trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles as well as train operators.

“It is imperative for everyone’s safety that commercial motor vehicle drivers and train operators be fully focused and immediately responsive at all times,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “DOT strongly encourages comment from the public on how to best respond to this national health and transportation safety issue.”

Difficulty staying awake

While government agencies have increasingly raised alarms about sleep apnea, tests for it aren’t mandated for highway drivers or rail workers. The disorder is triggered by a halt in breathing during the night, which causes people to repeatedly wake up and disrupts normal sleep patterns, leading to difficulty staying awake during the day and other health hazards.

The NTSB has repeatedly found apnea was at least partially responsible for accidents, such as the Dec. 1, 2013, Metro-North Commuter Railroad Co. derailment in the Bronx that killed four people after the engineer fell asleep.

The possible new regulations are being considered by two agencies under DOT, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration.

Related: Synthetic drug use by U.S. truckers is a growing and deadly problem

Have you given us a Like on Facebook?

Copyright 2016 Bloomberg. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Related

Sleep apnea probable cause of last year's deadly Metro-North train disaster

The National Transportation Safety Board released a report citing sleep apnea as the probable cause in last year's derailment.

Featured Video

Most Recent Videos

Video Library ››

Top Story

Insurance industry education is more than just letters after your name

Continued education isn't just nice to have. For many insurance professionals it's a requirement for their jobs or licenses. Here are some national organizations to help you get those designations.

Top Story

Liberty Mutual to acquire Ironshore Inc. in $3B deal

Liberty Mutual Insurance announced Monday morning it will acquire global specialty lines company Ironshore Inc. from Fosun International Ltd. for approximately $3 billion.

More Resources

Comments

eNewsletter Sign Up

Claims Connection eNewsletter

Breaking news on disasters, fraud, legal trends, technology, and CE initiatives for the P&C claim professional – FREE. Sign Up Now!

Mobile Phone

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.