The U.S. is taking the first step toward requiring that commercial drivers and railroad workers be tested for sleep apnea, a disorder that causes drowsiness and has been linked to fatal wrecks.
The Department of Transportation is seeking public comment in the next 90 days about whether it should mandate sleep tests that had been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board. It would include drivers of trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles, as well as train operators.
While government agencies have increasingly raised alarms about sleep apnea, tests for it aren’t mandated for highway drivers or rail workers. The disorder is triggered by a halt in breathing during the night, which causes people to repeatedly wake up, disrupting normal sleep patterns.