Regulations about sleep apnea treatment for truck drivers seem inevitable at this point, but there is still space for truckers to shape the nature of those regulations. To help design regulations that are trucker-friendly while still promoting public health, the American Trucking Research Institute (ATRI) has designed a survey to determine how much drivers know (or think they know) about sleep apnea.
Focused on Costs
The ATRI survey is very quick and easy to complete, and every driver can easily go to the organization’s website and complete the survey in two minutes or less. It includes seven questions about sleep apnea. Drivers are asked whether an overnight stay in a sleep lab is the only way to diagnose sleep apnea and whether CPAP is the only sleep apnea treatment, and what potential complications might be related to sleep apnea. Perhaps to avoid prejudicing results in the simple open format survey, no other diagnostic or treatment options are alluded to.
One of the drivers behind the survey admitted that costs associated with sleep apnea was part of the main driving forces behind the survey. That’s why two of the survey’s seven questions are about costs associated with treatment.
And it’s important to talk about costs related to sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment. Although the trucking industry will be bearing the brunt of expense related to the testing and treatment of sleep apnea, it will also be reaping the bulk of the gains. While the public will see significant gains in safety, truckers will see improved health and lower healthcare costs. The trucking companies themselves will see fewer preventable accidents, which means lower costs in terms of damaged trucks, lost cargo, and disrupted schedules.
Flexible Diagnostic and Treatment Requirements Key
If we are to develop successful sleep apnea regulations for truckers, the requirements will have to reflect the real-world situation truckers face. It won’t be enough to simply require sleep lab tests, because we need to know about sleep apnea as it affects truckers in their berths as well as their beds.
And we will need to acknowledge that sleep apnea treatment shouldn’t force truckers out of work. Truckers are skilled laborers and in short demand, and artificially limiting their access to jobs because they cannot comply with CPAP treatment that is challenging under the best conditions. At the same time, we need to make sure truckers get effective treatment and that they’re using it, which means some degree of treatment monitoring.
If you want to learn more about your options for sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.