St. Michael's Health Clinic

St. Michael's Health Clinic

Family and Occupational Health 

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

 Obstructive Sleep Apnea


        FMCSA’s physical qualifications standards prohibit individuals from receiving a medical examiner’s certificate to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce if they have an "established medical history or clinical diagnosis of a respiratory dysfunction likely to interfere with his or her ability to control and drive a commercial motor vehicle safely." (49 CFR 391.41(b)(5)). OSA is considered a respiratory dysfunction when there is a determination that it is likely to interfere with the driver’s ability to operate safely because of the severity of the case.  Currently there are NO SET REGULATIONS for OSA if a motor carrier has never been diagnosed with sleep apnea.  The examiner can recommend a sleep study; however, FMCSA relies on medical examiners to make driver qualification decisions based on the clinical observations, findings and standards of practice. The current regulations and advisory criteria do not include guidelines concerning OSA screening, diagnosis and treatment. Medical examiners should rely upon their medical training and expertise in determining whether a driver exhibits symptoms and/or multiple risk factors for OSA, and they should explain to the driver the basis for their decision if the examiner decides to recommend a sleep study.


       The examiner can disqualify the driver if they have moderate to severe sleep apnea.   If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea the following guidelines must be met:


* (NO CPAP) AHI (episodes/hour) less than or equal to 20 and no daytime sleepiness.

* (CPAP) Wear his/her CPAP 70% of the time and have document at least 4 hours of sleep time at pressure/major sleep episode.

* OSA Surgery: 3 month post-operative waiting period

* Recent diagnose of OSA: 1 month waiting for CPAP compliance then recheck 3 months and 1 year.

* Max certification: 1 year


This is why it is important for you to bring your SD card (data card) to your appointment.  Make sure your examiner has the software to read your data card.  If they do not have the software, have your private MD or your home medical store read your card.  Bring a copy of the report to your appointment.  It is imperative that the driver who has been diagnosed with sleep apnea be compliant. 


What can cause you not to be certified?

* Lack of CPAP compliance. 

* Previous crash or fatigue

* Excessive sleepiness

* BMI >33 kg (symptomatic)

* AHI > 20


You can be certified if you have sleep apnea-----you just need to follow FMCSA regulations if  DIAGNOSED WITH OSA.  


https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/documents/OSA%20Bulletin%20to%20MEs%20and%20Training%20Organizations-01122015.pdf