Sleep Apnea and Commercial Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that as many 28 percent of commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders have sleep apnea1.

Signs of sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness, falling asleep at inappropriate times, loud snoring, depression, irritability, loss of sex drive, morning headaches, frequent nighttime urination, lack of concentration, and memory impairment. For commercial drivers, these symptoms are dangerous and potentially deadly. Research indicates that untreated sleep apnea puts drivers at increased risk for motor vehicle crashes. In fact, one study found that drivers with untreated sleep apnea did worse on performance tests than healthy alert subjects whose blood alcohol concentrations was above the federal limit for driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)2
The good news is that sleep apnea is a highly treatable disorder. A continuous positive airway pressure machine is the most effective therapy, requiring patients to wear a nasal mask during sleep. The mask, connected to a pump, gently forces compressed air into the nasal passages at pressures high enough to open the airway from the inside. In addition, people with sleep apnea can loose weight, avoid alcohol prior to bedtime, and avoid sleeping on their backs. Other treatments include the wearing of custom fitted oral dental devices and surgery to remove enlarged tonsils, adenoids, nasal polyps, or other growths.

Deviated nasal septums or unusually formed jaws or soft palates can also be corrected surgically.

Once you have received treatment for sleep apnea and comply with your treatment plan, you can do your job as safely as someone who doesn’t have the disorder.

Heartland Health Therapy is able to offer “one stop shop” for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea.  We can provide complimentary home sleep screening to determine if you show signs of having sleep apnea.  We offer Home Sleep Tests as well as the “Gold Standard” in lab studies at our AASM Accredited Sleep Disorder Center.

We accept Medicare most private insurance policies and offer a reasonable private pay program for people that don’t have health insurance.

No one is sure when the Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA) will implement recently proposed updates to existing guidelines regarding compliance with medical fitness standards related directly and indirectly to respiratory dysfunctions, including sleep apnea.  By contacting Heartland Health Therapy you can be prepared for whatever happens in the future with these guidelines.