Thursday, October 27, 2016

True or false? Truckers with a BMI of 40 or above are off the road

Information travels fast these days.

As soon as a story is published and posted on social media websites, it can quickly be shared to the segment of the population that wants or needs that information. In moments, thousands of people have easy access to the story.

This can be a wonderful thing, of course. The increase in speed can give drivers extra warning about such things as inclement weather or road closures. It also can spread word to be on the lookout for criminal activity or a missing person.

The problem, however, is that misinformation spreads just as fast. In some cases, it may travel even faster. If the story (true or false) affects a lot of people, it won’t take long for it to end up in your news feed.

For example, it has been reported that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board and Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee voted to approve obstructive sleep apnea recommendations that would require medical examiners to immediately disqualify truck drivers with a body mass index of 40 or more.

Before you panic and pass that information on to five of your friends, realize that it simply isn’t true.

The recommendations, which are nothing more than recommendations at this point, are for drivers with a BMI of 40 or higher to be mandated to undergo a sleep study. A BMI alone should not warrant disqualification unless a certified medical examiner believes the driver is at an extremely high risk of putting himself or others in danger.

The recommended guidelines also suggest that a driver should be disqualified immediately and referred for obstructive sleep apnea diagnostic testing if he or she reports excessive sleepiness while driving, experiences a crash associated with falling asleep, or has been observed sleeping while operating a vehicle. The review board recommended that drivers who are disqualified for those reasons must remain disqualified until evaluated and treated effectively with compliance.

But, no, it doesn’t mean that every driver with a BMI of 40 is going to be pulled off the road.

You can bet that Land Line will continue to follow every step of the sleep apnea recommendation and rulemaking process. And when something of note occurs, we will get you that information quickly. But most important, we will always do our best to get it to you accurately.