The Trump administration has withdrawn a proposed law to screen truckers for a dangerous sleep condition. Sleep apnea can threaten the lives of every driver on the road, but the Trumpernaut sees it as an unnecessary regulation. No need to test truck drivers for sleep apnea, says Trump and Co.
Thousands of truck accidents are caused each year by sleep problems, but anything that looks like a “regulation” looks bad to the Trumpernaut. Also anything that was put forth by the Obama administration.
How Asleep should Truckers Be on the Road?
The Atlantic asks, “How asleep should truck drivers be on the job?” That inquiring absurdity is a consequence of an ideology against regulation in any form. The Trumpian mantra never changes: “Regulation is bad. Less regulation is good. Let’s stomp out any regulation that we can.”
Public Citizen, meanwhile, is leading a lawsuit against Trump’s absurd and dangerous edict that no new regulation can be put into law unless two other regulations are rescinded. This arbitrary lunacy – backed by dark Koch Brothers, Chamber of Commerce and ALEC money – benefits corporations at the expense of regular citizens.
Conductor with Sleep Apnea injures 100 People
Trump famously doesn’t read anything. If he did, he might recall that last summer in New Jersey, a sleepy conductor with undiagnosed sleep apnea crashed his train into a crowded station in Hoboken, injuring 100 people. The man’s obstructive sleep apnea affects alertness. It can make people spontaneously sleep even during stimulating activities.
That’s just one high profile case. How many tragic trucking accidents have been caused by truck drivers with undiagnosed sleep apnea? That number is sure to be in the hundreds, if not the thousands. But anything that affects the bottom line of industry must not be allowed to encroach on the Trumpian dream of total corporate independence from regulation of any sort.
In March of 2016, the Obama administration proposed that deadly sleep-related accidents should be prevented where possible. One approach was to begin sleep apnea-screening of train engineers and truck drivers.
On August 11, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it had withdrawn that proposed sleep test requirement. The reason was the same as always for an ideologue dead set against “regulation” in any form – it was part of a larger effort to remove any regulations that might limit economic growth.
NTSB “Disappointed” with Change
The National Transportation Safety Board, which has advocated screening truckers for sleep apnea for years, said through a spokesmodel that it was “disappointed” that the DOT withdrew this “much-needed” rule.
Sleep Apnea affects 1 in 10 People
The sleep-inducing condition is increasingly common, affecting at least one in 10 people to some degree. Obstructive sleep apnea in serious cases can give someone symptoms that sound like classic narcolepsy. Such a person can fall asleep with little to no warning. It is similar to narcolepsy, though the primary problem is respiratory. People with sleep apnea don’t breathe well while sleeping at night. This degrades the quality of the sleep, and leaves people impaired and exhausted throughout the day.
Trump moves to stop Screening Truck Drivers for Sleep Disorder
The problem with dropping screening is that sleep apnea applies even to many people who report sleeping well for seven or eight hours each night. These people are unaware that their breathing interruptions are precluding deep, restorative cycles. Without those deep cycles, accidents are more likely to happen. It only makes sense to screen people whose jobs involve trucking or training enormous machines at high velocities, always a potential recipe for human tragedy.