Congress has recently passed new legislation paving the way for changes in the rules governing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among commercial drivers. You can read my previous post about this legislation here.
Presently, the standards applicable to drivers depend, to some extent, on whether they are subject to the medical regulations found under Section 391.41(b)(5) of the FMCSRs. Depending on the severity of the case, the regulations specify that OSA is a disabling medical condition and renders a driver unfit to operate a commercial vehicle where it is “moderate to severe” and “interferes with safe driving”. However, each state sets its own medical standards for driving a commercial motor vehicle in intrastate commerce, and not all states have adopted the federal standard. Fortunately, New Jersey has adopted the regulations and therefore all commercial drivers traveling on our roadways are required to be cleared by a medical examiner who has addressed OSA and other potentially disabling medical conditions. You can view the medical examiner form here.
Drivers and motor carriers share the obligation to participate in the medical clearances necessary to operate a commercial vehicle. Motor carriers are prohibited from permitting anyone to drive its vehicles if they have a condition which would affect his/ her ability to safely operate the vehicle, including OSA.