Will I Be Required To Take A Sleep Apnea Test?

Topic 4210 | Page 1

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Kenneth F.'s Comment
member avatar

Quick question: I am very interested in truck driving however I went to the dot exam in North Carolina, and apparently they have a new law if your over weight they measure your neck and if it is a certain width you must go get a sleep study to determine weather you have sleep apnea , is there any way to get around this, and will the companies take you if you have to get a sleeping machine?

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Fatsquatch 's Comment
member avatar

It's not your weight per se that they're going by, it's your BMI , which is based on your weight in relation to your height. If your BMI is over 35, they'll measure your neck, and if it's over 17" around you'll be recommended for a sleep study to see if you have sleep apnea.

As for what will happen after that point, that varies wildly from one company to the next. Some companies won't even consider a driver who needs a bi-pap or c-pap machine, others will allow it as long as you actually use it. It's by no means an automatic disqualification to getting your medical card or CDL , like insulin-dependent diabetes would be. Best advice is contact the companies you're interested in and ask what their policy is regarding sleep machines, just in case.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Kenneth, there are lots of drivers with the c-pap machines, like Fatsquatch said it does not disqualify you. This is basically something new in the past few years that has been pushed hard by certain groups who stand to gain financially from it. With that being said I will tell you that a few drivers I know who had to get the machines say they have never slept better in their life. they love using the machine and it has been a great benefit to them.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Sleep Apnea is a dilemma for sure. Very few people have it. The ones that do often have it for years without being diagnosed. It prevents you from sleeping properly and causes a series of various problems, including headaches, inattention, drowsiness, and anything you'd ordinarily associate with improper rest.

And I'll go even further than Old School and say that several people I've spoken with that were diagnosed with Sleep Apnea said the CPAP machine was a life-changer. They not only slept great, but it cured a series of problems they've faced for many years. It was a really big deal.

There is a lot of debate about Sleep Apnea testing and a lot of people who stand to make money from it. You'll see articles like The Sleep Apnea Witch Hunt that have a lot of merit to them. But at the same time, we know there are people walking around with it and you can't just say, "Oh well. Too bad for them."

If there was a test for it that cost five dollars and took five minutes we'd all be tested for it right away. Unfortunately the tests are expensive and time consuming, and the CPAP machine is costly also.

If the state of North Carolina is requiring it, that's the first time I've heard of a state doing so. There are trucking companies that will test for it. But I've never heard of a state requiring it.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Kenneth F.'s Comment
member avatar

Quick question: I am very interested in truck driving however I went to the dot exam in North Carolina, and apparently they have a new law if your over weight they measure your neck and if it is a certain width you must go get a sleep study to determine weather you have sleep apnea , is there any way to get around this, and will the companies take you if you have to get a sleeping machine?

Thanks gentlemen I am trying to get into trucking school, preferably by the end of the month, I am trying to provide a better living for me my girl friend and daughter, I looking a swift hard. What do ya'll think about that, company, I'm just trying to get my foot in the industry.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

mountain girl's Comment
member avatar

The ones that do often have it for years without being diagnosed.

I know of a retired physician who apparently had it for years & had no idea he had it. He was recently diagnosed in the past couple of months. Since using it, his life & health have improved drastically. There is a statistical (& direct) relationship between neck circumference & the snoring, plus apnea (which means absence of breathing). The patient breathes & snores to the point where breathing stops for seconds or moments at a time. The brain then wakes the patient into conscious or semi-consciousness in order to start breathing again. The patient then falls back to sleep but after a few minutes, has to wake up again, in order to take a sufficient breath. With the sleep study, using electrodes on the head, specialists can see (and prove) where the patient has woken as many as 300-600 times (not uncommon) in one night's "sleep" & therefore hasn't really "slept" at all. This can cause a person to fall asleep unexpectedly for unknown periods of time while driving. The retired physician I know had done just that, a few times, & finally "turned himself in" to his own doctor to start the study process. He no longer naps during the day nor falls asleep at the wheel. It's a serious disorder & causes a plethora of secondary health problems, as you can imagine, after years & years of never getting enough REM sleep. Many patients have reported phenomenal improvements in health, including weight loss, once using the C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure).

-mountain girl

Ken C.'s Comment
member avatar

If you have Sleep Apena you want to get it treated because your quality of life suffers the longer you go without a good nights sleep...I have it and told Prime Inc. I had it so they wanted me to be re-tested (New Sleep Study) and get a new more complaint machine, (able to wirelessly upload) my sleep usage data, Now sadly the total cost to me will be about $2000 but they take it through payroll deduction. The Sleep People said they thought I was only a borderline case and may be able to get off the machine but it's not that big a deal using it

Ken

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