In 2016, the federal government took several big steps to create clear rules surrounding commercial drivers and rail workers and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Among other forward movement, the notice of intent for rulemaking cleared the Office of Management and Budget, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), and solicited public input on the impacts of screening, evaluating, and treating rail workers and commercial motor vehicle drivers including hosting meetings around the country.

But this month, citing “not enough information available to support moving forward with a rulemaking action,” the rulemaking on sleep apnea has been withdrawn.

According to

FMCSA and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sought data and information concerning the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in highway and rail transportation, and on its potential consequences for the safety of rail and highway transportation. The Agencies also requested information on potential costs and benefits from regulatory actions that address the safety risks associated with motor carrier and rail transportation workers in safety sensitive positions who have OSA. Upon review of all public comments to the ANPRM, FMCSA has determined there is not enough information available to support moving forward with a rulemaking action and so the rulemaking will be withdrawn.

Where do commercial drivers and pilots stand now? FMCSA gives medical examiners authority to make determinations and decisions based on their medical knowledge, the results of the driver’s physical examination, and the current medical standards of practice.