The Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration issued an advanced notice of proposed rule-making in March to evaluate safety-sensitive employees for sleep apnea. On May 18, 2016, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) requested an extension to the comment period (Docket ID: FMCSA-2015-0419-0348). In its request, OOIDA stated that the comments will provide a comprehensive look at the impact of OSA screening and treatment within the motor carrier community that is beyond the information which any one carrier can provide. Furthermore, with this data in hand, OOIDA will be able to present a better analysis of the information requested by the ANPRM. The ATRI released its survey results on Thursday, May 26, 2016. FMCSA and FRA published an ANPRM on March 10, 2016, requesting certain information regarding the evaluation of safety sensitive personnel for moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
But the agencies are now extending the comment period to give the public more time to consider the changes. The comment period for the ANPRM has been extended from June 8, 2016, to July 8, 2016 due to all the unexpected comments-largely in part by American Sleep and Breathing Academy members explaining the importance of Oral Appliance Therapy.
This could potentially slow down the rule-making process, even though there is no set deadline to issue a regulation. FMCSA and FRA believe that other potential commenters to this rule-making will benefit from an extension as well. That is why the American Sleep and Breathing Academy is prompting all members to take the time to comment.