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FMCSA faces lawsuit over sleep apnea regulations

Truck accidents caused by fatigue are a major public health concern for federal officials and roadway drivers in Illinois and throughout the United States. The danger posed by sleepy drivers at risk of dozing off behind the wheel while operating massive semi trucks is serious; other drivers and passengers can suffer severe injuries and even death as a result of collisions. Sleep apnea, a disorder that prevents sufferers from achieving sufficiently restful nights, can be one cause of truck driver fatigue.

Because of the importance of preventing additional trucking accidents caused by drowsy driving, the federal government has sought to regulate testing for sleep apnea among truck drivers. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is embroiled in a lawsuit brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which is challenging the federal agency's guidance for doctors performing sleep apnea examinations on truck drivers. OOIDA charges that the FMCSA regulations violate a 2013 law that requires all sleep apnea testing regulations to go through a full process with public notice and comment.

On the other hand, FMCSA argued that its exam regulations only restated existing rules that predated the 2013 law. A three-judge federal appeals court panel agreed with FMCSA, dismissing OOIDA's lawsuit. However, now OOIDA is seeking a rehearing of the case before all 12 judges on the court.

Sleep apnea and the resulting drowsy driving can be a major danger on the road. People who have been injured in truck accidents caused by a driver's fatigue or dangerous driving can consult with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help a victim seek compensation for the damages they have suffered as a result of a crash.

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