Thursday, June 26, 2008

Home sweet home

Don’t worry drivers; the medical industry has got you covered.

The FMCSA Medical Review Board recently recommended that all commercial truck drivers with body mass indexes of 30 or greater undergo a one- or two-night study for sleep apnea.

The proposal may go nowhere, or it may be adopted in full.

Whatever the case, the sleep study industry is prepared for the latter. A press release recently circulated, touting the benefits of a new sleep study lab housed in a truck and trailer. You can view the truck and trailer here.

The truck delivers sleep studies in heated or air-conditioned comfort, complete with areas for lab technicians to observe the patient. The trailer bedroom pictured in the release even has a picture of a steering wheel hung above the headboard.

I doubt the sleep study industry is putting enough sleep lab trailers together to test the millions of commercial drivers who are at or above the Medical Review Board’s obesity line; I’ll save that argument for another day.

I’m more interested in the features the makers of the mobile sleep study lab didn’t think of.

Like midnight window banging by lot lizards, harassment from local yokels, and random idle inspections from SWAT-like enforcement cops descending from state environmental agencies.

Where’s the urgent message from dispatch about tomorrow’s load, the late night call from spouses stressed by the rug rats at home?

Cuddled under a comforter and dreaming of steering wheel pictures, is the driver more or less likely to be diagnosed with a sleep disorder as reminders to calculate state diesel taxes, make an engine maintenance appointment, and find a place to park in downtown Chicago ping around his sleepy head?

Watch for Land Line’s news analysis piece on the FMCSA Medical Review Board’s decision in the magazine’s July edition.


  1. Or wondering how he/she is going to feed their family or fill up the fuel tanks with the fuel prices rocketing sky high.

    Wish someone would put as much effort into addressing the fuel issue as they have our "weight" problem.

  2. So much money is wasted on doing, even over-doing, studies and academic pursuits like this. We've become a nation of administrators.

    Truckers ARE fatigued. (America is one of the most sleep-deprived nations on earth). Truckers are also ill. Yes, truckers are sick and tired of working 18 hour days for 8 hour pay, adjusting their sleep, meals, and restroom breaks to the whims of traffic and warehouses. Truckers do not WANT to push themselves day after day. It's a necessity to make enough money to live. The only way to fix truckers' problems is to pay them a decent income.

  3. You know, it has become acceptable in this country to discriminate against a particular segment of the population. It all started with the people of this country saying, "Yeah, let's stop those smokers from polluting the air the public establishments", then the passengers of airplanes were judged by their size. For those who think it is just fine to make these kinds of rulings, hold on to your shorts because the next thing you know, it will be you who will be added to the list.

    Ever since I heard about this proposal, I have wondered why only truck drivers are included. Certainly there are people who suffer from an excess body mass index who drive cars and are out there putting everyone's live in jeopardy.

    So why is the trucker being singled out? It is because the general public has the perception that when there is a problem on the highway, it must be the trucker's fault, no matter what the circumstances are. Therefore, no one will sqawk if a new requirement is added to the plate of the trucker.

    Once again, this is another way to get into the trucker's pocket and steal his money . . . and guarantee more business for the medical community. One has to wonder how much the lobbists for the medical field have spent to get this kind of a ruling even considered.


  4. Hmmf Crank the heat up to 140 one night and -10 the next.. see how good a driver sleeps in them conditions..

  5. Charlie, you can also add to the list of conditions missing from the test: exhaust from trucks and reefer units seeping into the cab and sleeper; random noises throughout the night, from entering and departing rigs to exuberant belching, singing and hollering, to slamming doors... Most things medical science advises people to do to improve sleeping and fight sleep apnea are difficult to impossible for truckers.


Leave a comment here.