The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) met with federal agencies and lawmakers in Washington, DC to forge relationships based on promoting the importance of sleep. AASM President Nancy Collop, MD, said the timing couldn’t be better.

“We have been planning this trip since fall, but with the recent rule changes on resting times for pilots and truck drivers, the mindset in Washington seems more open than ever to our concerns about adequate sleep and public safety,” Collop said.

Late last month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced new rules for the maximum hours of work per shift and mandatory rest periods for passenger airline pilots and truck drivers. Among other measures, the FAA limits flight times to 8 or 9 hours for pilots, and increases to 10 hours the rest time between flights. The FMCSA reduced by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week and mandated a break of at least 30 minutes after every 8 hours of work.

AASM met with representatives from the FAA and FMCSA, and also the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Topics included the perils of driving while drowsy and working a shift during a normal sleep period.

“Adequate sleep is an issue that extends beyond the tired individual to the health and safety of our society as a whole,” Collop said. “We have science-based, evidence-based data to back this up. Our research and our scientists have been instrumental in assisting with the new transportation rules. We look forward to fresh opportunities with our country’s leaders to continue improving safety in all forms of travel and in the workplace.”