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