A joint public meeting between the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board made significant recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to help medical examiners identify commercial drivers with OSA.

The December 7 meeting set out to discuss guidance for medical examiners to identify commercial drivers with a high pretest probability of having OSA, define conditional certification, and determine what constitutes immediate disqualification.

According to the proposed recommendations, drivers with a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 35 should be evaluated for OSA using an objective test; they may be given a 60-day conditional medical card during the evaluation and treatment process; and those drivers diagnosed with OSA must have evidence of appropriate treatment and effective compliance, with future recertification dependent on proof of continued compliance with treatment. Immediate disqualification conditions are for individuals who report excessive sleepiness while driving; have experienced a crash associated with falling asleep; and have been noncompliant with treatment.

Subcommittees of each group working together will meet in January to draft more detailed recommendations to the FMCSA, and another joint meeting of these entities will take place in February 2012 to finalize the detailed recommendations. A public comment period will also be available before the FMCSA issues these recommendations as final guidance.

If adopted by the FMCSA, Commercial Driver’s License holders including truckers and bus drivers would fall under these guidelines.