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Friday Short Haul - CTA files lawsuit against California, Highway Hero nominations sought, video of "Move Over" crash 11/15/2019 Tesla announces new electric Semi model 11/13/2019 Not everyone happy with potential FMCSA clearinghouse delay 11/11/2019 Friday Short Haul - AI taking driving jobs, CRV scam, Truckers protest AB-5, ELDs quit working 11/8/2019 Investigators cracking down on truck accident fraudulent lawsuits 11/6/2019 So you want to start your own trucking company? 11/4/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA emergency exemptions, snow plows, FedEx employee bribery charges 11/1/2019 Human smuggling via big rigs on the increase 10/30/2019 Carriers, drivers look at ways to deal with California's AB-5 10/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Millennials and trucking, Truckers Christmas Group, Navistar settlement 10/25/2019 Too many drivers still don't know to "Move Over" 10/23/2019 Are trucker strikes a thing of the past? 10/21/2019 Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers 10/18/2019 OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules 10/16/2019 Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase 10/14/2019 Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition 10/11/2019 ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers 10/9/2019 Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend 10/7/2019 Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse 10/4/2019 UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program 10/2/2019 Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies 9/30/2019 Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics 9/27/2019 Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California 9/25/2019 Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers 9/23/2019 Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation 9/20/2019 Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets 9/18/2019 54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology 9/16/2019 Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea 9/13/2019 TCA honors three Highway Angels 9/11/2019 Now they're talking about "smart" trailers 9/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage 9/6/2019 Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change 9/4/2019 Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse 9/2/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign 8/30/2019 Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality 8/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks 8/23/2019 Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire 8/21/2019 UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment 8/19/2019 FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes 8/16/2019 Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions 8/14/2019 CVSA asks for new truck crash study 8/12/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination 8/9/2019 Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race 8/7/2019 New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes 8/5/2019 Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav 8/2/2019 Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity 7/31/2019 DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure 7/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs 7/26/2019 FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers 7/24/2019 It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle. 7/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans 7/19/2019 Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire 7/17/2019 Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills 7/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status 7/12/2019 ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant 7/10/2019 New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters 7/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week 7/5/2019 Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July 7/3/2019 Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks? 7/1/2019 Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks 6/28/2019 Experts warn of active wildland fire season 6/26/2019 More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking 6/24/2019 Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award 6/21/2019 Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs 6/19/2019 Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers 6/17/2019 Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo 6/14/2019 HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers 6/12/2019 FMCSA takes a further look at detention time 6/10/2019 Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest 6/7/2019 Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week 6/5/2019 Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo 6/3/2019 Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments 5/31/2019 Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration 5/29/2019 Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts 5/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles 5/24/2019 Autonomous trucks on USPS test run 5/22/2019 Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules 5/20/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC 5/17/2019 Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA 5/15/2019 Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins 5/13/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole 5/10/2019 Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South 5/8/2019 Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets 5/6/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers 5/3/2019 'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states 5/1/2019 Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers 4/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business 4/26/2019 ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for 4/24/2019 Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks 4/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings 4/19/2019 Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels 4/17/2019 Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business 4/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise 4/12/2019 Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need 4/10/2019 Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border 4/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules 4/5/2019 Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates 4/3/2019 Don't get scammed by skimmers 4/1/2019 Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking 3/29/2019 Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers 3/27/2019 Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy 3/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap 3/22/2019 Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising 3/20/2019 FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website 3/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award 3/15/2019 The hidden danger of looking but not seeing 3/13/2019 Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout 3/11/2019 3/9/2019 3/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire 3/8/2019 Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases 3/6/2019 Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness 3/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports 3/1/2019 New tax changes hit drivers hard 2/27/2019 FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military 2/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use 2/22/2019 Congress committee looks at state of America's highways 2/20/2019 Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same 2/18/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks 2/15/2019 Detention - A problem still in search of a solution 2/13/2019 February Highway Angels honorees named 2/11/2019 Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets 2/8/2019 Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage? 2/6/2019 Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage 2/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team 2/1/2019 Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly 1/30/2019 California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards 1/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers 1/25/2019 LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30 1/23/2019 2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry 1/21/2019 Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018 3/28/2018 TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award 3/7/2018 TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year 2/28/2018 Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers 2/26/2018 New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018 1/11/2018 Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup 12/21/2017 Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks 12/12/2017 Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017 12/8/2017 Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way 8/10/2017 Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road 7/18/2017 Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach 7/13/2017 Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal 7/6/2017 Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice 6/29/2017 The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers 6/15/2017 The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017 6/8/2017 We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better 5/30/2017 Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon 5/25/2017 11/30/-0001

Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way

Brett Aquila on Thu, August 10, 2017

It's a startling figure that over 100,000 truck drivers likely have undiagnosed sleep apnea, but the math doesn't lie. Sleep apnea is a common disorder affecting nearly 12% of the U.S. population and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent report (2014) there are approximately 1,797,700 heavy haul truck drivers in the United States.

The math: 12% of 1,797,700 is 215,724. So the headline could have read over 200,000 truck drivers likely have undiagnosed sleep apnea but I wanted to be conservative with my estimates. Regardless, let's be honest, these numbers are terrifying.

Metro-North in the New York City suburbs, a train operator who tests all employees for sleep apnea, found that 11.6 percent of its engineers have sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is when your breath becomes shallow or briefly stops during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is a result of the entire upper airway being blocked. The most notable symptoms of apnea include snoring, gasping, choking and pauses in breathing. If gaps in breathing are long enough, your brain is triggered to wake so you can catch your breath.

This explanation came from a discussion I've been having with Alex Deckard who is an Outreach Coordinator for Aeroflow Industrial, a company who according to their website is "An accredited Medicare and Medicaid provider who specializes in providing sleep studies and CPAP treatment options" and their main focus is on the trucking industry.

I Have To Admit I Was Cynical And Skeptical

To be honest, I don't think I had ever even heard of sleep apnea until about 2012 when Tanya Bons, the owner of the now defunct Spirit CDL Training in Belvidere, Illinois, wrote an article for us called The Sleep Apnea Witch Hunt which was a somewhat scathing condemnation of the new wave of sleep apnea testing that was being done in the trucking industry.

Tanya at the time didn't feel the facts and figures justified the study being done, and she also felt that certain demographics were being unfairly targeted without enough evidence to back such targeting.

I have to admit, at the time I was totally on board with everything Tanya was saying. I was cynical myself. I thought this was nothing more than a handful of companies who stood to make a lot of money performing these sleep studies and providing the equipment necessary to treat sleep apnea.

I Started Hearing Stories From Drivers

As time went on we had numerous people in our trucker's forum report being diagnosed with sleep apnea, and many of them were saying that the treatments were life changing for them. This really got my attention.

I'm really into fitness and healthy living myself so I began reading more about it, and it turns out a lot of people suffered from symptoms they just thought were ordinary for them. They didn't equate the symptoms with any sort of problem. It included things like feeling tired during the day, feeling lethargic, mild depression, trouble waking up, morning headaches, trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, and daytime fatigue.

I began to realize this may be more common and real than I had thought.

Joe Rogan's Recent Diagnosis And Treatment

Joe Rogan, the famous announcer for UFC Fighting, recently did a blog post called Sleep Apnea And My Big Fat Tongue. Joe felt the same way I did. Maybe all of this sleep apnea stuff was just hype, just a bunch of people worrying over nothing.

He had a friend being treated for sleep apnea and his friend convinced him to have a test done. It turned out that Joe did in fact have sleep apnea, and after being diagnosed, Joe said:

[My doctor] assured me that once I started wearing my mouthpiece I would have a big increase in energy. I believed her, but the results are way more dramatic than I thought they would be. I’ve been using it for about a week now, and I feel like a wet heavy coat has been magically lifted off my head and body. It’s amazing.

I have energy all day long that seems to stay pretty much even throughout the day. I’ve NEVER had that. I’ve always had bursts of energy followed by periods of laziness, followed by coffee. Now all of a sudden I feel like a valve has been turned on in my body and this new life force is pouring out freely again.

It's the same type of life-changing results that I've heard time and again from others.

Ok, so sleep apnea is real, no question about it, and according to numerous sources it affects a lot more people than most of us would have guessed. But that still left me with one big concern.

What About My Cynicism Toward The Testing Companies?

It seems the same companies that supply the home testing equipment also provide the CPAP machines and other treatments! This raises an obvious red flag, a terrible conflict of interest. Who would say that their sleep apnea test came out negative, thus causing themselves to lose the opportunity to sell their own treatments?

So I put this question to Alex Deckard of Aeroflow Industrial and this was his response:

Aeroflow provides affordable sleep testing devices and treatment options like the CPAP machine itself. We administer two different types of at home sleep tests-- the pulse oximetry test and the unattended sleep study. You wear a small piece of equipment while you sleep that tracks specific patterns and apnea events. In the morning, you ship everything back in the pre-addressed box, and a sleep clinician analyzes the results. If you need treatment, you have to have a prescription before getting a CPAP machine.

Aeroflow’s team does not diagnose or act as a physician. We send the results to your physician or to an independent board certified sleep physician for an official diagnosis. From there, your sleep doctor will schedule a telemedicine appointment and prescribe a treatment option. The virtual appointment saves you time so you can get back on the road.

So it turns out these companies do indeed provide the testing equipment and the treatments, but it's up to a physician to diagnose the condition and prescribe the treatment, and that physician can be your own.

Who Is At Risk And How Do They Determine Who Gets Tested?

According To Alex:

It is a common misconception, but BMI is not the prevalent or only factor that determine who needs a sleep test. The main driver for sleep apnea screenings is the annual DOT physical. The industry standard is the STOP-BANG sleep apnea questionnaire which is composed of eight yes or no questions to assess your risk of sleep apnea. The questions are:

STOP - Snore, Tired, Observed stoppage, High Blood Pressure

  • Do you SNORE loudly (loud enough to be heard through closed doors)
  • Do you often feel TIRED, fatigued, or sleepy during the day?
  • Has anyone OBSERVED you stop breathing during your sleep?
  • Are you being treated for high blood PRESSURE?

BANG - BMI, Age, Neck, Gender

  • BMI more than 35 kg/m2
  • Age over 50 years old
  • Neck circumference greater than 16 inches
  • Gender: male

There's a lot more to cover about sleep apnea and the future of testing in the trucking industry so we'll be doing more articles on this pretty soon.

My Take On This: More Testing Is On The Way

One thing seems certain. There's going to be a lot more testing done in the trucking industry as time goes on. The testing procedures will become less expensive and less obtrusive, and as public awareness grows you're going to see more lawsuits coming from accidents involving drivers with undiagnosed sleep apnea.

When you look at the demographics of truck drivers and compare it with the at-risk demographics of sleep apnea, the correlation is striking.

  • The average age of truck drivers nationwide in in the late 40's
  • About 94% of truck drivers are male
  • A huge percentage of truck drivers are overweight

Combine those demographics with the fact that we're driving an 80,000 pound building on wheels surrounded by innocent families and it seems obvious to me we're going to be hearing a lot more about this issue in the coming years.

Sleep Apnea Is Not Something To Ignore

Sleep apnea is a huge problem for a lot of people and yet the diagnosis and treatment are nothing at all to fear.

Sleep apnea is rather easy to treat, so don't bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away. If you feel you're at risk, consider asking your doctor for a home test. For a couple of hundred bucks you can find out if you have sleep apnea, and if so, the treatment may very well change your life in a big way.

And for the record, this was not a paid promotion of any sort for Aeroflow Industrial, mostly because I'm a lousy businessman. Alex took a lot of time to answer some tough questions for me, only some of which were used here. You'll be hearing more from my talks with Alex in the near future.

Here are more resources you can check out here at TruckingTruth:

Trucker's Wiki: Sleep Apnea, Truck Drivers, & BMI Calculator

Trucker's Forum: Topics Tagged 'Sleep Apnea'

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