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Trucking association pursues lawsuit over sleep apnea rules

People in New Jersey and across the United States may be highly concerned about the danger of getting into an accident with a truck while out on the highways. Collisions with large trucks can cause devastating personal injuries and costly property damage, and driving safety concerns can be magnified with these massive vehicles. While there are a number of worries about dangerous driving on the roadways, drowsy truck driving can be one of the most serious and deadly.

The issue of how to manage drowsy driving among truck drivers has led to a legal conflict between the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). The OOIDA wants the federal appeals court to reconsider its lawsuit against the FMCSA, which alleges that the trucking agency violated the law when it created new regulations for sleep apnea evaluations for truck drivers. A 2013 law mandated that the FMCSA must use a rulemaking process with a period for public comments before creating new sleep apnea regulations for truck drivers.

In this case, the OOIDA says that a 2015 update to medical examination rules for truck drivers violates the law. The FMCSA says that it referred only to existing guidelines for sleep apnea screening. Earlier in 2018, a panel of the court dismissed the case, and the OOIDA is seeking a rehearing before the full court.

Sleep apnea is a major concern because drivers with the untreated disorder fail to get sufficient sleep and thus are at risk of engaging in drowsy driving and dozing off behind the wheel. Drowsy driving can cause severe injuries that are devastating to people's lives. Individuals who have been hurt or injured in a truck accident that was caused by a drowsy or dangerous driver can work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for the damages caused by the accident, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

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