Medical Examiners to Use 35 BMI Standard for Sleep Apnea Screening

A top Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) official has confirmed the agency will very likely use a body mass index (BMI) of 35 as the threshold for mandatory sleep apnea screening for commercial drivers.

Speaking at an industry event, Jack Vansteenburg, assistant administrator and chief safety officer with the FMCSA, confirmed previously published reports that the agency will go with the 35 BMI standard for screening drivers, according to Truck News.

Vansteenburg added that a notice will be published “within the next several months.”

The 35 BMI threshold for medical examiners ordering a screening was one of several recent Medical Review Board recommendations on a sleep apnea testing requirement for commercial truck operators.

“Age, neck size, crash history, gender and hypertension will come into play, but alone, the 35 BMI driver will be recommended to go for an initial screening,” Vansteenburg said.

At the same panel discussion, Tom DiSalvi, director of loss prevention at Schneider National, said that 23 percent of drivers at his fleet have a BMI of 35 of greater and 60 percent of that group has at least moderate sleep apnea.

In advance of a U.S. rule, the Canadian Trucking Alliance is preparing a sleep apnea testing pilot program set for this spring.

If carriers are interested in participating, contact CTA senior VP, Stephen Laskowski at stephen.laskowski@ontruck.org.