New Sleep Apnea Law - Travel CPAP for America’s Truckers

New Sleep Apnea Law - Travel CPAP for America’s Truckers

This article on sleep apnea testing for truckers was updated in September 2017 with details about two excellent CPAP machines designed for travel and ideal for the needs of most truckers who want consistent therapy on the road.  We also discuss the changes to the trucking industry's "sleep apnea law".

The recent passing of the bill referred to as the sleep apnea law is just the beginning of how the trucking industry and other involved parties will address the needs of truckers when it comes to sleep apnea testing and treatment.

Although the sleep apnea bill was signed into law by President Obama on October 15 of 2013, the bill was withdrawn on August 4, 2017 . There were lengthy discussions and research in 2016 with the trucking industry and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The FMCSA issued a bulletin placing the onus on drivers’ medical examiners and asked them to refer drivers for apnea testing if there is cause to believe apnea may be interfering “with the driver’s ability to safely control and drive a commercial motor vehicle.”

Without the Sleep Apnea Law – Will There be Testing and Treatment Protocols for America’s Truckers?

According to if the screening/treatment rule proposed by the FMCSA’s Medical Review Board (MRB), had been followed, up to 40 percent of truck drivers would face mandatory apnea screening. The screening criteria was based on the driver’s size and age. Of course, this would have incurred high costs for drivers, owner-operators and fleets. There are more than three million professional truck drivers in the United States.
Undoubtedly, sleep apnea education for drivers is critical.

Tired or sleep-deprived drivers endanger others on the road. They also incur all the health risks from sleep apnea. In many cases, these tired drivers do not even realize they have sleep apnea. This could lead to a multitude of other issues including (but not limited to) stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Other could also include dementia, depression, weight gain and daytime sleepiness. You can read more about the known risks of untreated sleep apnea here. Here is an infographic that depicts many of the symptoms of sleep apnea .

While testing and CPAP therapy costs are a major concern for truckers, many of whom do not have insurance, there are equally daunting issues of space and power requirements with the machines. Truckers deal with limited power availability when they are parked for the night with most sleeping in their cabs. The limited space and power availability mean that travel CPAP machines must be a proper and convenient size. Unfortunately, few meet the necessary criteria for use by truckers on the road.

CPAP Manufacturers Address the Sleep Apnea Law

Some sleep apnea machine manufacturers have developed portable, travel-friendly CPAP machines that are poised to address power, functionality, and space requirements for truckers. Here are two very popular models that meet the needs of most truckers and anybody else who needs to ensure consistent CPAP therapy while traveling. As all CPAP users know, the key to treating sleep apnea is consistent, quality therapy. When machines and components are cumbersome and difficult to pack, carry and use, therapy often gets less of a priority. The odds of that happening with these great travel machines are much less. Traveling with a CPAP has never been easier or more user-friendly.

DreamStation Go CPAP Machine - Addressing the Sleep Apnea Law

The DreamStation Go Auto CPAP is a single unit, with a optional integrated, rechargeable battery. That means the machine and your mask are all you need when you head out on the road. Made by Philips Respironics, a trusted name in CPAP therapy products, the DreamStation Go weighs about 20 ounces. And, it’s less than half the size of the standard DreamStation CPAP.

With its color touch screen, it’s easy to operate and very similar to using a smartphone. Ultra-thin tubing (12mm) is less than half as big as the majority of “standard” CPAP tubing. This means you’ll experience easier movement during sleep. It can connect via Bluetooth to an app in order to review sleep therapy results.   Get all the details about the DreamStation Go Auto CPAP.

As the trucking industry and the yet-to-be-appointed rule-making body decide the broader issues of testing and who pays for treatment among others, what may be most important in this debate is that nothing currently stops trucking companies from requiring their drivers to be tested now.

A few large companies have instituted testing standards and programs that are already saving money and, more importantly, saving lives.. With lives and livelihoods at stake, the goal is to provide uniform methods of diagnosis and treatment for the country’s truckers living with sleep apnea that will prove to be both attainable and practical.

For additional information on various topics concerning sleep apnea and CPAP products, please refer to our blog.  It has updates constantly and offers free advice and information.  If you’d like to learn more about the quality sleep apnea products we carry including the DreamStation Go or other CPAP machines, or if you have additional questions, about the sleep apnea law don’t hesitate to call us at (866) 414-9700, or you can contact us through our website.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.