FMCSA cites "clerical error" in withdrawing sleep apnea guidance

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Notice mistakenly published soliciting public comments

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says a “clerical error” led to the premature publication of proposed medical guidance concerning sleep apnea and commercial drivers.

The agency published the proposed guidance in the Federal Register on April 20, 2012, asking for public comments, but later that day issued a statement saying it was withdrawing the guidance until further notice.

The proposed guidance was designed to help medical examiners evaluate commercial drivers who may be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea, a type of respiratory dysfunction that may lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.

Among the recommendations on which the FMCSA was seeking comments: whether drivers should be certified for just 60 days if they have a body mass index of 35 or more, until they can be tested for sleep apnea.

The recommendations came from two advisory panels — the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and Medical Review Board — that were asked to study the issue of sleep apnea and advise the FMCSA on how to proceed. The committees provided their final recommendations to FMCSA earlier this year.

In a written statement, the FMCSA announced that it “is still in the process of carefully reviewing the recommendations submitted by the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and Medical Review Board. The initial publication was a clerical error. We anticipate requesting public comment on the recommendations later this year.”

from J.J. Keller & Associates.

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