Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Commercial Driver Risk?

In This Article:

The effects of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on trucking safety has become a contentious issue for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Drivers are confused and concerned about what to expect during their DOT physical exam and how this will affect their CDL medical certification.

FMCSA: What Is Currently Required For CDL Medical Certification Regarding Sleep Apnea?

At the time of writing this article, March 2010, the DOT physical exam required for commercial driver license holders includes only brief questioning regarding sleep apnea. Examiners are not required to screen for the condition if drivers respond that they are symptom-free.  However, this current approach is ineffective if the driver intentionally fails to reveal a clinical diagnosis or intentionally avoids identifying such signs and symptoms during their DOT physical exam.

FMCSA: Future Guidelines and Rules on Sleep Apnea

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected soon to issue more explicit guidelines for CDL medical certification that would significantly raise the bar on DOT physical screening, and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. However – as far as changing the rules – the FMCSA wants to verify that sleep apnea affects trucking safety before they change the rules, which may be another two or more years in process.

Not all parties agree on the relationship between sleep apnea and safety. The National Transportation Safety Board is one of the parties alleging a clear connection between driver sleep apnea and safety. In response to such concerns, the American Sleep Apnea Association, the American Trucking Associations and the FMCSA are co-sponsoring a national conference, Sleep Apnea & Trucking Conference 2010, in May about sleep apnea’s effect on truckers.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Concerns For Commercial Drivers

Fatigue is a significant issue, and driver drowsiness has been cited in a high number of fatal truck-related crashes. Current road safety concerns are that many cases of sleep apnea are undetected and may be a safety issue.

As a commercial driver, your concerns are twofold: Your livelihood and your life.

1. Repercussions that sleep apnea issues will have on your livelihood.

Under current CDL medical restrictions, drivers with moderate to severe sleep apnea that interferes with safe driving can be disqualified for a DOT medical card if a state-licensed medical examiner determines they should not drive. Commercial drivers, in general, support safe driving. What concerns some is that guidelines and rules based on a single factor like BMI or neck size, will create sleep tests which will be costly in dollars and downtime, and where sleep apnea may not be a factor.

2. Consequences that untreated sleep apnea could have, leading to life-threatening health issues.

The lifestyle of commercial drivers leading to a higher rate of obesity has contributed to a higher rate of sleep apnea among truckers than in the general population. Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arrhythmias, diabetes, and sleep deprived driving accidents. The most serious complication is a severe form of congestive heart failure. Sleep apnea sufferers also have a 30% higher risk of heart attack or premature death than those unaffected.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Do You or Don’t You Have It?

People can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea for years and not know they have it.

Snoring, in combination with obesity can be highly predictive of obstructive sleep apnea risk. That said, even the loudest of snorers may not have a breathing obstruction.

The sign that is most suggestive of sleep apneas occurs when snoring stops. If both snoring and breathing stop while the person’s chest and body try to breathe, that is literally a description of an event called an ‘apnea’. When breathing starts again, there is typically a deep gasp and then the resumption of snoring.

How Do You Recognize Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms?

  • A sleeping partner may witness you experiencing difficulty breathing while you are sleeping. In adults, a pause in breathing must last 10 seconds to be scored as an apnea. Clinically significant levels of sleep apnea are defined as five or more episodes per hour of apnea.
  • You may have other health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arrhythmia, or cardiovascular disease, for which sleep apnea is a risk factor. People with diabetes or “borderline” diabetes have a higher risk of having obstructive sleep apnea.
  • You may suspect you have it because you’ve experienced restless sleep, and you feel sleepy during daytime hours. If you’ve had these symptoms for some time you may have become conditioned to feelings of fatigue and not realize that they’re associated with sleep apnea. You may also have gotten used to masking symptoms by using stimulants such as sugar and caffeine.
Here are some sleep apnea symptoms you may recognize:
  • Excessive snoring or snorting
  • Restlessness or interrupted sleep
  • Workday drowsiness
  • Excessive nighttime urination
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Smoker
  • Obesity

Obesity: How Can BMI or Neck Size Affect Your CDL Medical Certification?

In 2008, a health panel recommended to the Medical Review Board that CDL medical certification be conditional based on body mass index (BMI). BMI is a statistical measure which compares a person’s weight and height. Though it does not actually measure the percentage of body fat, it is used to estimate a healthy body weight based on a person’s height. For more information on BMI and height weight charts, see this Wikipedia article.

The panel recommended that truckers with a BMI of 30 or higher should be required to be tested for sleep apnea. It is not yet clear how strict a criteria FMCSA will give BMI in the DOT physical exam process in the future.

Currently fleet owners use a BMI of 39 or higher to screen and disqualify driver applicants.

Other indicators of potential obstructive sleep apnea are neck size, enlarged tonsils and large tongue volume. Large neck circumference is measured at 16 inches in women, 17 inches in men. Individuals with low muscle tone and soft tissue around the airway (e.g., because of obesity) and structural features that give rise to a narrowed airway, are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

High BMI or large neck size are indicators of possible obstructive sleep apnea. Additional factors that predict obstructive sleep apnea are diabetes and high blood pressure. A driver presenting a combination of these conditions is likely to trigger suspicion of sleep apnea and the need for a sleep study in order to rule it out, to complete the DOT physical exam process for CDL medical certification.

How Can You Be Sure You Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or a “sleep study”. Clinically significant levels of sleep apnea are defined as five or more episodes per hour of apnea measured by the polysomnogram.

What Is The Treatment For Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Depending on the level of the problem, here are some things you could try, to find relief and get a more restful night’s sleep.
  • Some treatments involve lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol or muscle relaxants, losing weight, and quitting smoking.
  • Many people benefit from sleeping with their upper body elevated, like sleeping in a recliner.
  • Sleeping on your side, as opposed to sleeping on your back, is also recommended as a treatment for sleep apnea.
  • Dentists who specialize in obstructive sleep apnea can prescribe various kinds of mouthpieces to keep the airway open during sleep.
  • The treatment used by most doctors is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or the BiPAP machine. The CPAP assists only inhaling, whereas the BiPAP is used in more severe cases for inhaling and exhaling.
  • There are also surgical procedures to remove and tighten tissue and widen the airway.

If you have reasonable suspicion that you have sleep apnea, it’s recommended that you investigate it further, see your physician and do a sleep test if necessary. Obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition that can have serious consequences if not treated.

You Can Manage Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Maintain Your Commercial Drivers License!

Obstructive sleep apnea does not necessarily disqualify you for CDL medical certification. Treatment with a CPAP machine and some basic lifestyle changes can help you get a restful sleep and maintain your commercial drivers license. Many drivers who have suffered fatigue for a long time , and then were diagnosed with sleep apnea and treated, report that they’ve felt like a new person since they’ve been on a CPAP machine.

Commercial Drivers – Are You At Risk?

You may be reading this article because you’re concerned about your livelihood – how sleep apnea could affect your CDL medical certification and that your CDL is at risk.

If that’s the case, then you should be concerned about your health too – that your life is at risk.

You don’t have control over the forthcoming FMCSA rules and regulations to get your DOT medical card. But you can manage your health so that those rules and regulations are not a problem for your CDL.

Commercial driving is a challenging lifestyle. Will it control the way you live, or will you manage the way you live, within its constraints? By knowing what the problems are, you can take action to make the outcome different, and pass your DOT physical exam with flying colors.


Leave a comment

69 Comments

  1. Iowa Driver

     /  August 15, 2013

    I am a short haul driver and get home every night, and I made that point very clear to my DOT Physical Doctor. Still they say since my neck size is over 17 inches I have to go thru all this crap. Why? I have lost 400 pounds, my BP is good, I am no longer a diabetic! So for all the hard work of getting in shape I now get this to deal with. I don’t think they should go by neck size alone.

  2. Trucker Doc

     /  August 6, 2013

    @Rich
    It looks like the whole sleep apnea thing is going to be based in the number of other conditions you might have; e.g. High blood pressure; over weight and out of shape; diabetic; etc. The more poor health conditions, the quicker they will head in the direction of apnea studies. Stocky is not a condition, so there should not be any real consideration, unless there are other conditions.
    Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  3. rich

     /  August 5, 2013

    I’m 44, 6ft even, 220 with a size 18 1/2 neck. I’ve been buying this size shirt since my early 20’s, it’s never changed. I’m very stocky. I’ve been tested and have no signs of apnea, I’m just built this way. How will this affect someone like me who is just stocky?

  4. Ken

     /  June 30, 2013

    This is all a scam to wrench a few more dollars out of the working public when it comes to commercial drivers. Too many people in government are either doctors or lawyers and some are invested in these sleep study clinics or the companies which make the machines. This is truly a conflict of interest. 14 hour work days/11hrs driving time I think is way too long for anyone to be working or behind the wheel of any vehicle. On top of that try and find decent and healthy food on the road, not to mention the companies want those wheels rolling so getting exercise is difficult. Ive been in this for 25 plus years and no accidents with 2 million safe miles. Im hanging it up come time to renew my medical card. Under no circumstances will I be tethered to a machine and monitored by the government 24/7 Enough is enough. House or no house the medical field and the govenment can stick it in their keesters. And I would be glad to put it there for them

  5. thomas rittner

     /  June 3, 2013

    got my physical in march, passed with flying colors. i have high bp but it was 133/78 perfect. i was getting ready to leave and she said i have to send you for sleep apnea. i was’nt happy because all the questions she ask were no except i smoke and 5’11” and wiegh 252lbs, so measured my neck 17 1/4″. gave a 4 month card. so i had a sleep study done and this doc. was really nasty i don’t think she like truck drivers. so i went back for my test results and she said i had it. so she gave me a script for the machine and said they would call me if not call them so i called a day later and they said they never recieved the fax so i had to work my wife bugged these two places all day and they did nothing but play this cat and mouse game finally she called this place again and they said they got the fax 4 days later, now they were waiting on my insurance to reply wife called later and they said they had to order this machine up 1 to 2 weeks and now i am trying to get this sleep doc. to give me copies of my sleep study so i can give to physician to get an extention and she is giving me the run around. in the meantime my card runs out 7/15/13 and talked to physician and when they get this copy they still may not give me extention, with the new law where we have to register are card with dot in PA. by that date or i lose my whole cdl in order to get it back i have to do everything over again skills, driving the whole 9 yards it pisses me off i’ve done everything i was suppose to do, and this doc and supply comp. are screwing me around. drove for 32 years no accidents and never get sleepy but now my job rests in these peoples hands. i lose my cdl for not my mistake but this doc with bad attitude, she new the fist time i met her that i had a dead line on my cdl and day 1 she said to get an extention and i told her i could’nt so it seem she did this on purpose. i from pa. about ready to get a lawyer. this hurts every driver out there, and how does the fed government sleep at night knowing that they are putting people out of work, and taking food out of families mouths and all the years you dedicated yourself to and get nothing in return.

  6. Trucker Doc

     /  May 24, 2013

    @Jay
    Well, generally speaking this should not affect any records via the DMV. Mostly this is recorded and will, starting next year, be reported to the FMCSA.
    And as long as you are compliant with your CPAP and the setting are correct you should not have any problems.
    That all being said, you might want to check with the republic of california and make sure of that point though. I know here in Utah it is not an issue.
    Hope that helps. Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  7. Jay

     /  May 23, 2013

    I’ve just done a sleep study which determine I have sleep apnea, I’m to return for my cpap fitting. What has me concern is this “reporting” to DMV, don’t get me wrong I’m not against it what I’m worried about is the consequences. My job requires me to take call so I have to drive. Can your license be suspended when the report is turned in to DMV. I live in CA.

  8. Trucker Doc

     /  February 19, 2013

    @Lasalle
    The sleep apnea issue is of great importance with the OTR drivers, because of the amount of time spent behind the wheel.
    As a local driver, well, you ran into someone who thinks they are way important. The rules are not as strict for local drivers, plus you are in and out of the truck on a very routine basis. If you have mild sleep apnea, you should try to use your unit, you will feel better with proper sleep. Give yourself a little time to adjust to the unit.
    But as far as the DOT exam is considered, you should not have any limitations, unless the examiners feels that you are a danger to yourself and the public at large.
    Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  9. Lasalle martin

     /  February 15, 2013

    I am a local driver not driving now trying to get back to work last year the clinic gave a q&a i checked yes sometimes i fall a sleep while watching tv she said go have a sleep study done. couldn’t work without it got it done mild sleep apnea i never had a accident ever 2013 same problem i can’t sleep with a cpap and i am a local driver whats those guidelines please tell i don’t drive over 230 miles a day and i’m in and out the trk ever 5 mins.

  10. Dave

     /  January 12, 2013

    What makes drivers fall asleep while driving is these crazy Hours of Service regs.. At the end of my 14th hour since coming on duty, I may have been at a dock for 4 hrs sleeping in my sleeper, so at the end of my 14, I’m not tired.

    I then have to sit around for 10 hours twiddling my thumbs because H.O.S. reg’s say I’m too tired to drive.

    After my 10 hrs off, I’m now tired because I was sitting around doing nothing and wasn’t tired so I couldn’t force myself to sleep.

    Now, the Regs. say I’m wide awake and safe to drive, even though I’m now dead tired, and my boss (and wife) expect me to drive so I can pay the bills.

    When will we get the feds to butt the hell out? The feds can’t regulate their own employees, and they’re screwing with us???

  11. Michael Scanlon, NP

     /  January 11, 2013

    I drove over-the-road for ten years before going back to school, have worked in health care now for the last 23 years, have done many many DOT exams of drivers. Have also witnessed many other examiners without any understanding of what professional driving really entails, and who have disqualified drivers unfairly or have jumped on the sleep-apnea hysteria bandwagon with a vengeance, even limiting drivers with mild sleep apnea. Last year at an occupational health conference near Boston there was a great presentation about the negative effects of unemployment, how it literally destroyed people. What is the bigger risk to the public health, unemployment or drivers with mild sleep apnea?

  12. Trucker Doc

     /  December 22, 2012

    @Michael
    Based on the question as I read it: There is no law requiring you to take a sleep study, only a guideline. If you lost 56 pounds, this is a great help in the matter of potential sleep apnea. I guess you would have to re-test, but you should not have any problems with your medical certificate.
    Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  13. michael

     /  December 19, 2012

    hm im confused so i was required to do pap cpap i did for 30 days then said heck with it so now 6 months later im at a ahi level of 13 and 204 ilb from 260 so can i now b qualified for a medicall certifacte

  14. Trucker Doc

     /  June 26, 2012

    @Mike
    At least here in Utah, for driving any vehicle that exceeds 10,000 lbs. or is used for commerce, the driver has to have a valid medical card. It is the examiner who make the difference regarding the driver’s needs and requirements. Over-the-road drivers have a much greater stress level than the around-town driver, but the examination is the same for any medical certificate.
    This is usually discussed with the drivers and the type of driving they do by class, ( class A,B,C,or D ).
    Hope that helps. Thanks for the questions. Trucker Doc

  15. Mike

     /  June 25, 2012

    In reading this, I noticed there is no clarification of what degree of driving in involved. I can see the potential hazard for long haul driving. But, what about general construction workers. We have a lot of these, who work an 8 to ten hour daytime shift with sporadic driving–to and from work sites. And, we have our refuse drivers, who drive 5 miles an hour picking up garbage, recyclables, or composting material (clean-green).
    None of our drivers drive long stretches.
    Shouldn’t there be some clarification on which commercial driver is at risk and should be included?

  16. Martha

     /  May 16, 2012

    I have driven a school bus for 29 years, I also have been using a cpap for 15 years of that time. I found myself trying to doze off while driving so went next day asked my doctor to be tested for sleep apna. Had test, got cpap and could not believe how much better I felt.

  17. Trucker Doc

     /  February 24, 2012

    @Jim
    Well to answer the question, ” Can he do that? ” Yes, he can. He is basing his findings on experience and the guidelines set forth by the Guide for evaluation of the commercial drivers.
    But you also have choices. He is looking out for you, the driver, and the safety of the public at large. You are looking out for your family and the ability to continue doing your job. All the signs are there to warrant a study, overweight, out of shape, large neck, etc. If you have not had any difficulty during your driving career, then I would go to someone else for a second opinion, but be aware the guidelines are still just that, guidelines for all the DOT examiners.
    Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  18. Jim

     /  February 23, 2012

    I went in today to get my new medical card, as a dot requiement,
    The Doctor asked if i snore i ansered yes. he measured my neck and then
    looked down my throat he then told me that i probably have apena, and that I need
    to be tested, and that he would give me a 30 day medical card ? I told him that
    I needed this card for this new job, he basiclly stated not his problem,
    can he do this just on a hunch ? aperatlly so. I dont think I have apena,
    but I dont have 2 or 3 thousand to prove him wrong, no insurance, no job,
    I don’t have any history of diabetes, high blood presure or getting tierd while driving, no sighs at all,
    but I am over wieght, doc says I have a 17 1/2 ” neck a swollen touge and a BMI of
    39. and that all he needs to suspect i have apena. I am 52 and 6 foot tall 286 pounds. been driving for 30 years. personally I think that the goverment has found a way to but drivers on a diet. or else . you can find statistics on both sides of this issue. both interesting reading.

  19. Trucker Doc

     /  January 23, 2012

    @Sue
    The testing for sleep apnea makes sense, if the driver finds himself feeling sleepy during the day following a night’s rest.
    The rest of the test battery is the doctors choice and is not a required series, unless the examiner feels there may be other health issues regarding the driver and his safety.
    As a diabetic and a little overweight, the doctor’s concerns are for the overall health of the driver and for his safety and the publics’. Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  20. Trucker Doc

     /  January 23, 2012

    @Linehaul driver
    Well, lets think this through!
    You drive a commercial motor vehicle, weighing 80,000 pounds and you fall asleep while driving. HMMM, should I pull your medical card for that?
    The purpose for the medical examination and certificate is to make sure you are safe to yourself and the public.
    I would recommend that you go back to your primary physician and have him check you out again and see if there are any modifications to be made regarding your cpap and your level of restfulness following a nights sleep.
    Otherwise, yes, they will pull your medical certificate until you get this issue corrected and rightfully so.
    Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  21. Linehaul driver

     /  January 22, 2012

    I sleep with a cpap and still don’t feel rested after a whole night of sleep and still doze while driving will the dot doctor pull my medical card if I was to tell him I’m still falling asleep even with the cpap

  22. sue

     /  January 11, 2012

    My husband holds a cdl in the state of mn. Just because he got pneumonia on the road and went in for that, now he’s been tested for sleep apnea, hepatitus c, stress test, which is walking on a treadmill for 15 minutes. Is this all necessary?
    He is a diabetic with numbers under control, weighs about 265, and has been a owner operator for 37 years. He is our only income and now they threaten that they will take his card away if he don’t do the stress test on the treadmill? He has agreed to the sleep apnea test in Febuary. Is this necessary to keep his cdl?

  23. Trucker Doc

     /  January 2, 2012

    @mkgc59
    It is unfortunate that it happened this way.
    If it is company policy, then it’s company policy. But there is no ruling about how long to issue a medical certificate for sleep apnea, only a guideline.

    So answer a few questions.
    1. When was his condition diagnosed?
    2. Does he use a CPAP machine?
    3. For how long has he used it?
    4. When was the last testing and what were the results.
    If the job is still available, all he should have to do is demonstrate his willingness to get things right and go from there.
    Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  24. mkgc59

     /  December 29, 2011

    My husband gave notice and was due to start his new job next week. Went for the DOT physical and the questionaire asked him whether he had sleep apnea or not. He said “YES”….because he’s honest. So, they would only give him a 3 month DOT card. The new co called him to say they cannot hire him without at least a 6 mo card. This is utter BS in my opinion, he left a job to take the new job—with only a few days they change their minds stating “co policy”..

  25. truckers wife

     /  December 28, 2011

    My husband went for his medical card today ,The doctor was rude did not ask him if he has problems sleeping .He is 5’9 310 he feels great ! This physican referred him to a test center for sleep test WTH! a million miles driven with no problem . So on top of that this doctors says to him you are more likely to kill some one before a drunk driver could who says that.so go to say he has to go be checked another way just for people to get money if you ask me these drivers have been driving for years with out these test .Maybe they should worry about the ones that cheat on their logs and drive with three hours of sleep .

  26. Trucker Doc

     /  December 27, 2011

    @David
    Here you can read our summary of FMCSA Rules and Regulations.
    Here is the link for the long, legal version FMCSA Part 391.41
    Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc.

  27. David

     /  December 25, 2011

    I have been useing a cpap for 3 years and it helps. I only drive on my cdl a couple of times a month, may be for 30 min. or 4 hours. Where can I find the rules on drivers w/ sleep apnea by the DOT?

  28. Trucker Doc

     /  December 24, 2011

    @Wilson
    It’s tough that good people are being squeezed more and more as the economy gets worse.
    My suggestion is that you start to take actions that vest your life in YOU, not in any company.
    Do whatever you can to start taking your life into your own hands. That could mean addressing some of this problem with the HR department in the Company. It could also mean understanding any health challenges you may be headed towards, and finding ways to address those. It may mean looking for alternatives in your work environment. YOU are the best course of action to make this problem go away!
    Hope this helps. Trucker Doc

  29. Wilson Hardy

     /  December 22, 2011

    i have not been examined yet for sleep apnea but i’m being treated like i have it already my employer is trying to get rid of me after years of service to the company. i have my whole life vested in this company and now i’m about to lose everything over something i haven’t been diagnosis with by any doctor. What’s the best course of action for me to take in making this problem go away ?

  30. Trucker Doc

     /  December 13, 2011

    @Joe
    Well the examiner is following the new recommendations, they are just recommendations not law.
    Also the examiner has the responsibility to look out for your safety and the public’s safety.
    Be aware that the examiner may request a new AHI test to determine the overall effectiveness of your unit.
    Thanks for the question. Trucker Doc

  31. joe

     /  December 12, 2011

    been using c-pap for 5 years, just renewed med card and was given a 1 year card, the p/a said new rules say 1 year only for sleep apnea sufferers in ca

  32. Trucker Doc

     /  November 29, 2011

    @andrea
    Dealing with sleep apnea is not an issue unless it is untreated. If the condition is treated correctly, then it should not have any effect regarding the hazmat endorsement. Thanks for the questions. Trucker Doc

  33. andrea

     /  November 28, 2011

    I was curious. If someone has sleep apnea does that affect getting a hazmat endorsement? And if he already has the endorsement, does that matter?

  34. Trucker Doc

     /  November 18, 2011

    @Valerie
    His condition will need to be supported with some level of documentation in that his condition is stable and he does wake well rested and that his oxygen levels are within normal limits. But no, it will not be a limiting factor unless his condition is unstable.
    Thanks for the questions. Trucker Doc

  35. Valerie

     /  November 18, 2011

    My husband has severe sleep apnea but it is being treated with a cpap machine will this disqualify him from getting a cdl?

  36. Trucker Doc

     /  August 11, 2011

    @Kenny
    Well it isn’t that you are automatically disqualified, but you must consider the side effects of the medication that your doctor has you using.
    Dextroamphetamine SIDE EFFECTS: Constipation, diarrhea; dizziness; dry mouth; headache; loss of appetite; mild weight loss; nausea; restlessness; trouble sleeping; unpleasant taste; upset stomach.
    It will be things like dizzyness while driving a commercial motor vehicle, that will get you disqualified.
    Have your doctor check you out on the CPAP machine to determine the underlying cause of the sleepiness while at work and then go for the CDL.
    Thanks for the questions. Trucker Doc

  37. Kenny

     /  August 10, 2011

    I have been using a Cpap machine for 7 years and definetly feel well rested in the morning having used it versus the few times I haven’t. Problem is I get to work and cannot stay awake. Doc has me on 10mg dextroamphetamines. Am I automatically disqualified from getting my CDL.

  38. Trucker Doc

     /  August 4, 2011

    @Ricky
    Well getting the CPAP out of the way and using it routinely would be a great start. Sleep apnea is not the issue for the long haul driver, it’s the tiredness that works against them.
    Having sleep apnea does not limit your qualifications, unless the company has some standard about it.
    Your examining DOT doc will ask you some questions about your sleep habits, because it determines how safely you will be as a driver, safe for yourself and the public. So go for it, you should not have problems.
    Thanks for the questions. Trucker Doc

  39. Ricky

     /  August 3, 2011

    I am interested in getting into the industry, however I know I have sleep apnea. I am 6 feet tall and weigh between 390 and 420lbs. However I have no insurance and am having a hard time finding a decent job that has insurance. Since I know that alot of companies do have good benefits, I was wondering if I went and got a CPAP on my own if that would stop me from being licensed. I have no other health issues other than the sleep apnea, my bp is fine and my sugar is good… so I guess the question is… should I go for it?

  40. John

     /  July 6, 2011

    My family is struggling financially and I have already been bused to a potential employer 1000 miles away only to have this sleep study and the 9″ skirt clearance (new aerodynamics) send me back home even more broke than when I left. Can anyone tell me what companies I can look into so that I can get a paycheck coming in? I’m 6’4″ and 350 – yes, a bit overweight, but played football for a long time. Any help appreciated. Thanks.

  41. Trucker Doc

     /  July 5, 2011

    @Trucker Wishbone
    The FMCSA did not pass any new rulings regarding BMI or sleep apnea.
    What I am seeing mostly is doctors who invested in these sleep study clinics and weight loss clinics trying to recoop their money. THIS IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST issue.
    The company you try to hire on with may have this as a policy, but the DOT has made NO ruling regarding these issues.
    Thanks for the heads-up.
    Travel Safely, Trucker Doc.

  42. Trucker Wishbone

     /  July 4, 2011

    Just had a dot physcial at valley occupational medicine roanke va going for a new job passed road test back ground etc dr powledge informed me they now have new protocol for screening drivers they took my height weight and said my bmi was 39 measured my neck it was 18″ asked me if i snored i said no they did not believe me so they would only certify me for 3 months until i go and get a sleep study done dr powledge went to a conference in may 2010 sponsored by fmcsa and the ata so they anticipate the osa sleep disorder will be updated more frequently in the next few years in the meantime there going by this now to screen drivers on ther dot physcials the day i was there i so at least two drivers that did not qualify at all i have been driving for 10 years no accidents on my record i cant say i havent been tired driving i have but i know when its time to shut it down and i do and i have been this will cost alot of drivers out there when this goes into full effect if it does i know it cost me a chane at a good job no co out there will hire you on a 3 month med card i just wanted to let other drivers know that some places are going by this some are not i just had a dot phy where i work at now they never even talked about bmi neck size or osa they did ask me if i snored what do you think i said?

  43. Anonymous

     /  June 5, 2011

    41 bmi 18 ” neck i have sleep apnea, bought my cpap on craigslist, no insurance. I sleep great with the cpap, but now i have 90 days to take a sleep study to tell me what i already know. then i will have to buy a cpap at full cost. 800,000 miles no tickets, violations or accidents, this sucks

  44. Trucker Doc

     /  May 5, 2011

    @Bryce
    The Federal DOT has not set any standards regarding weight, BMI, or body measurements. There were no law changes on the DOT physical.

    So unless this is a company policy, you could pass the examination. Yes you are overweight, and so are 80% of the senior drivers in America. So, if not company policy, go somewhere else to test for you medical card.

  45. Bryce

     /  May 4, 2011

    I just received my new DOT physical. Im 6″1′ and 270 lbs. They told me im overweight which I already knew. Whipped out a tape measure and measured my neck. Told me i was disqualified until I receive a sleep test. Now out of work and gotta wait 3 mths to get into a sleep facility.

  46. Trucker Doc

     /  April 7, 2011

    @Randy
    There was a lot of discussion regarding possible changes using neck size measuremments and snoring as a precursor for determining sleep apnea.
    Some of the trucking companies started adopting these, but DOT did not make any changes with the CSA 2010.
    Thanks for the question. Dr. Kenn

  47. Randy Day

     /  April 6, 2011

    has a new reg for sleep apnea been issued

  48. Trucker Doc

     /  January 24, 2011

    @Greg
    The CSA does not really have anything to do with sleep apnea per se.
    If you needed the unit and it’s working well for you, there is no concern. It’s noted on your medical examination and should have been a point of question with the DOT examiner during the exam. But the use of the CPAP unit has nothing to do with CSA 2010. It’s a question only if the company has questions, or there is a question as to whether you are fully rested following a night of sleep with or without the unit. Thanks for the question. Dr. Kenn

  49. Greg

     /  January 21, 2011

    I have been driving over the road for 39 years. I think I am in good health. However, I have been on a CPAP for the past year. Do I feel better? I think I so.
    But I am concerned about the MCSA 2010 and my ability to hold a CDL. Just think 39 years of HWY miles accident free and I am worried!

  50. Greg

     /  January 21, 2011

    I have been on a CPAP

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