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Lawsuit challenges agency’s attempt to detect drowsy drivers

Accidents caused by truck driver fatigue can be a major concern for people on the highways in Ohio and across the United States. Truck drivers work long shifts and drive monotonously for hours across the highway; many more perform their work in overnight hauls, which could increase the danger of drowsy driving. Drowsy driving can have a range of causes, including a medical condition called sleep apnea. When untreated, sleep apnea prevents sufferers from receiving a full night’s sleep and could lead to dangerously drowsy driving.

Detecting sleep apnea that could lead to truck driver fatigue is a public health concern. However, an industry association is in conflict with a federal agency about how regulations for testing are implemented. The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, or OOIDA, is suing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, arguing that a 2015 regulation it created for medical examinations for truck drivers violated a 2013 law. This law requires the FMCSA to seek public comment before creating any new rules for drivers’ sleep apnea testing.

However, the FMCSA argues that its regulation does not violate the law as it only reflected exiting rules for sleep apnea testing that predated the 2013 law. In January 2018, a federal appeals court panel sided with the FMCSA. However, the OOIDA is now seeking to have its case reconsidered by all 12 judges on the court.

Sleep apnea and other causes of drowsy truck driving can pose a real risk to truck drivers themselves and others on the road. Collisions with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer can be devastating and lead to severe, lifelong personal injuries. People who have been injured in a truck accident due to another driver’s dangerous or negligent behavior may wish to seek assistance from truck accident injury lawyers. An attorney may be able to help accident victims pursue compensation for the losses they have suffered as a result.