Friday, January 27, 2012

Recommendation to MRB: use your heads

The Medical Review Board is a tricky group to follow.

The MRB, a panel of appointees that make medical recommendations to FMCSA, didn’t meet for most of 2010.

They followed that up, however, with serious action late last year, and look to make 2012 their most aggressive year yet.

Appointed by the U.S. Transportation Secretary, board members make sweeping announcements, yet they still can’t regulate or mandate anything. Their recommendations are forwarded to FMCSA, which may adopt, ignore or amend anything forwarded their way by the MRB.

As Land Line pointed out in December, the Medical Review Board’s members appear to be in a hurry to implement serious changes that unnecessarily affect the livelihoods of tens of thousands of experienced truckers.

Now the MRB wants FMCSA to crack the whip even harder on truckers.

The changes they’re poised to consider for formal adoption include automatically disqualifying drivers who a) report excessive sleepiness “during the major wake period while driving” OR; b) experience a crash associated with falling asleep, OR; c) experience a single-vehicle crash.

“With a single vehicle crash, there should be a presumption the driver experienced fatigue at the wheel,” notes from an MRB subcommittee meeting state.

That’s right – hit a deer, bump into that illegally parked truck or dumpster in the dark corner of a truck stop or shipping yard and the MRB wants you outta trucking. That’s how aggressive and out of line the MRB has become.

These recommendations will be examined in upcoming MRB meetings, maybe even as early as February.

At the MRB’s joint meeting with MCSAC in December, several doctors guffawed over the lack of sleep doctors often operate under. They may have laughed about the high number of hours they work at a time, and how much doctors rely on coffee – but this isn’t something to joke about.

As Land Line has pointed out, medical errors by physicians and hospitals kill a minimum of 40,000 Americans annually – eclipsing fatalities involving commercial trucks.

Yet these doctors – even ones who serve on the MRB – don’t log any sleep schedule, or turn over their work schedule to police officers.

Though the MRB’s sleep apnea recommendation to FMCSA is just that – a recommendation – let’s hope the board’s doctors use their heads when making suggestions about just who should or shouldn’t be behind the wheel of commercial vehicles.

Because, let’s face it: recommending FMCSA treat truckers as sleep deprived maniacs is starting to look pretty hypocritical for Medical Review Board members.


  1. Obviously we need a panel of truck drivers to come up with national medical policies!

    1. Kurt, Thats exactly right, we need Professional drivers with safety records that stand out, so no Doctor can claim they are Fatigued and unable to make decisions, Emergency room doctors routinely work 24 hour shifts as part of residency, Firefighters, Cops, Truck drivers, Pilots...all stressful jobs yet handled every day by Men and women who do the right thing and watch out and drive defensively, or operate under hi stress levels day in and day out.

      WERE PROFESSIONALS ARENT WE...How many truckers have great safety records, how many never had an accident, how many have driven for a lifelong career and operated within the law and done a perfect job....YES there are tired drivers out there who are still operating the truck yet they know when to pull off and say REST....I dont need some paper pushing PHD to tell me when I can drive, or that I MUST DRIVE during the rush hour, and be sleepy when Im not sleepy, what have shift workers in Auto plants done for years or manufacturing plants, they do the job safely and with pride, These recommendations are taking money off my table, making it harder to decide if I want to buy a new truck, extend my career, and be a Trucker.

      aIts time we voiced our opinions at the meetings and time truckers said what they mean about the NEW regulations, these people arent speaking for a majority of US, YOU AND ME, there listening to the Lobby $$$ The Lobby with Money, Money provided by Sleep centers and Lawyers, and its CRAP !!!

      SPEAK OUT !!!!

  2. Hooray, Charlie!

    Not to mention the number of physicians who enter the operating room after a multiple martini lunch.

    Jack McComb

  3. ALL associations distant from and close to Trucking KNOW FULL WELL WE THE TRUCKERS have no voice apart from O.O.I.D.A., therefore attacks upon our Profession are being systematically approved daily.
    WE will soon be that of the Dinosaur and Trucking will be done Robotically and/or Drive By Wire (actually Drive By Signal) or simply by qualified (where feasible) Military Personnel.

    WE cannot allow the m.r.b. to dictate WHO, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW WE drive.

    WE need no direction or coercion from/with those that perform under LESS SLEEP than US.
    As stated: DOCTORS KILL MORE PEOPLE THROUGH ERROR than Truck Drivers and the general Driving audience.

    COMMON SENSE applies to ALL HUMANS, yet sadly most People and associations (m.r.b.) know not what means COMMON SENSE and aggressively attempt initiatives of pointless assaults to segments of society of which they (m.r.b.) know not because they, like the feds, clearly see little opposition.

    IF WE THE TRUCKERS HAD A LOUD VOICE (like when Trucking HAD a loud voice: TEAMSTERS/BROTHERHOOD OF TRUCKERS) in addition to O.O.I.D.A., WE would then have our concerns understood and implemented AND could well institute OUR CONCERNS regarding all the recent assaults to Trucking as well a NATIONAL STRIKE against such opposition.

    >>Dreaming and Talking are what they represent, where ACTION is the associative factor to initiate results<<

    Since WE THE TRUCKERS have not a loud voice other than O.O.I.D.A., WE have little recourse but to trudge forward and hope WE don't "hit anything" even when these things being hit, like Deer, are OUT OF OUR CONTROL.

    Single Vehicle Accidents happen daily and they're not always the fault of the Drivers.

    WEATHER plays a LARGE PART like of ICE, Rain, WIND, Snow, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Mudslides, etc., therefore being/Driving on any Road, Highway, Bi-way presents their own Dangers apart from some hypocrites in the m.r.b. claiming additional concerns of which they (m.r.b.) have NO BUSINESS.

    WE THE PEOPLE need to begin or continue watching as well determining WHEN doctors are safe enough to perform their functions and maybe then, after much aggravation, the so called professionalism of the medical field can be classed as PROFESSION instead of the continued stupidity being called A PRACTICE.

    *administration characterized by excessive red tape and routine*

    Thank You for your time.
    G Eric Gaither
    Greensboro, NC

  4. Since the Clinics are now all recieving Kick backs and recommending drivers becuase there Neck size, weve created a new Multi Million dollar business overnite. Im not judged on my record anymore, but on how big my neck is..The Sleep industry and its lobby is making someone very rich. Ive had to endure these questionaaires and Ive answered honestly yet Im being forcd to use a 1500 DOLLAR CPAP machine that causes me to lose sleep rather then get More sleep. Weve lost control of our own Destinys and Trucking used to be about a guy, his truck and the ability to work and earn and be your own boss, Those days are over, today were lumped together as statistics and if what I read above is true, I shouldnt go to a Doctor because he IS sleep deprived, especially Emergency room Interns and First Year Doctors who routinely work 24 hour and longer shifts.

    We need to Elect some Drivers to Congres, everyone Join OOIDA and regain our Voice as the Teamsters used to have, a unified voice.

  5. I know this so called recommendation will get passed,its not if,its more like when,and I have had enough,CSA,possibility of EOBRs,new laws aimed at so called making us safer,if they want the roads made safer they should start looking at the cars flying by us at 20 mph over the speed limit while texting,now they are trying to tell me that because I like many of my fellow drivers need to lose weight or be penalized with expensive testing and being forced to use an expensive device that is going to cause me to lose sleep.....sorry fmcsa,you are going to lose a well qualified,safe driver with over 4 million miles under my belt,in 3 weeks I am hanging up my keys and selling my truck, I have already started another business and will miss trucking but enough is enough.

    To be fair,it was not just this that is making me quit but also Californias new emission regs that are also forcing me out,most of my running is on the west coast and I cant afford to comply with their new rules

  6. I think its time Truckers were represented at the table were rules and regulations are made, if a politician is using nothing but statistics to base there decisions on we are lost. If they have never held a CDL license then I believe there arent capable of making laws for me. It should be a panel of drivers whove driven at least one year in a Semi Tractor, or Straight truck. Its time to demand some reform on these panels, Who are these people, what are there qualifications, How can they sit and judge me and you, where is there qualification, education and status as a trucker. I dont think someone whose never run a mile in the seat for a truck can stand in judgement of us. My driving record is as good as it gets, but what about there MVR...Maybe its time we had a look behind the people who are responsible for making our Highways safe, Not some PHD of Paperpushing...

  7. What if they are right? Do people on here ever consider that? Echo-chamberr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

    1. Nathan,
      There are certainly people who are affected by sleep disorders, and I have friends whove been prescribed CPAP/PAP and had great results, some would say its saved there life. Ive talked to sleep doctors who tell me they watch people during sleep studys and see them hold there breath for a minute, longer and then gasp and jerk back to life, repeating this over and over as they sleep.
      Its a lifesaver for that person, But I do not believe 30% of truck drivers are afflicted because there neck size, etc...Now lets take fopr instance this becomes law and then 50% or 75% of drivers must now have a sleep test, the PROFIT ratio skyrockets from 5.4 billion a year to 15 BILLION or more a year. Ill open a sleep clinic myself then because after that ANY person In America with a 17 Inch neck is going to be targetted, Truckers first, Farmers, Football Players, Taxi drivers, Train engineers, Pilots, and on and on and then the profit ratio is what 100 BILLION a year.....its VOO DOO STATISTICS and the Lobbys have these Doctors in there Pocket.....

      If your drowsy behind the wheel, get the machine and improve your life, but if your not I dont like being lumped into a bucket and called MANIAC, DANGEROUS, FATIGUED....when Im not !!!

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  9. spot on with this write-up, i like the way you discuss the things. i'm impressed, i must say. i'll probably be back again to read more. thanks for sharing this with us.

    Lee Shin

  10. Ive said before that Common Sense is lost in Waashington DC, The rules there are simple, Gather money, Hire Lobbyist, Find Politicians who need money, Give money to Politicians who have no Idea of the Issue or consequences of there "Informed decisions" after 300 dollar lunches and gifts from Knowledgeable Lobbyist with pockets filled with cash from those who will profit from said decisions. Get laws passed, MAKE BANK $$$$.....

    We have people on these Boards who driven straight trucks for a while and many whove never held a CDL EVER...Common Sense says how do you understand my life, or my decision making process at work on the road, in a blizzard, thru the mountains over the desert, in traffic jams, HOW do you decide whats best for US. "STATISTICS" Please....

    No common sense and too LITTLE UNDERSTANDING OF THE MEN AND WOMEN who have made this there chosen life. Ive been a trucker in one way or another over 30 plus year, 12 years Professionally for my living. Ive never had an accident, ticket, freight claim, issue, IVE got a perfect PSP/CSA Score, IVE HAD 5 INSPECTION IN THE LAST 8 MONTHS passed each one perfectly.

    Yet I am considered a danger to society, my record should be the first thing considered, Ive passed every DOT exam until I answered honestly that I would take a nap in the afternoon if I felt tired....WHO WOULDNT....But that was a wrong answer and then Im FORCED and I do mean FORCED to endure the at home sleep test and a CPAP Until I got a second opinion and was cleared of this contraption.

    Legislatures, Board Members. Panelists who own stock in Resmed, GE. Phillips and all the rest should never be allowed to vote or offer opinion. Common Sense is something sorely lost on these issues and many more, where can we find the COMMON SENSE LOBBYISTS...

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  13. Big Money $$$ BILL WILL PASS Working man Kiss our A $$ THIS is the new government

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