Commercial drivers in West Virginia and elsewhere are currently not subject to mandatory sleep apnea screenings. However, bills in both the House and the Senate may require the FMCSA to keep trying to create one. Such a rule was under development throughout 2016, but it was tabled in the summer of 2017. If implemented, it would create objective criteria under which a medical examiner could refer a trucker for testing.
Many West Virginia motorists get nervous when they are sharing the road with large trucks. Due to their size, 18-wheelers could potentially do a lot of damage to smaller vehicles on the road. However, car drivers can take actions that may help them to avoid dangerous accidents.
Those who regularly travel on West Virginia highways may occasionally see spike-like lug nuts attached to semi trucks and other commercial vehicles. While these spike ornaments are usually made from plastic, they can potentially be made of aluminum or another metal. As such, these lug nuts could potentially be a hazard, particularly for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Drivers in West Virginia may particularly fear accidents involving large trucks. The very size and force of the vehicles can threaten serious personal injuries for others on the road when something goes wrong. And while most truck drivers are very safe, there are approximately 475,000 large trucks involved in accidents each year in the United States.
The Department of Transportation has withdrawn a proposed rule that would have established the requirements for sleep apnea testing for truckers in West Virginia and around the country. The withdrawal allows the current system, which provides medical examiners the authority to decide which truckers have to receive sleep apnea screenings, to continue.
West Virginia drivers may have been impacted by the Brake Safety Day that took place on May 3. This unannounced check caused nearly 2,000 trucks to be sidelined in 33 states and 10 Canadian provinces where inspections took place. A total of 9,524 inspections took place with 1,989 trucks being taken out of service. Of those trucks taken out of service, 1,146 were related to brake violations.
There was an alarming increase in the number of fatal accidents involving tractor-trailers and buses in West Virginia and around the country in 2015 according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Statistics indicates that 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in deadly crashes in 2015, which is a worrying 8 percent increase over the 2014 figures according to the federal safety watchdog.
West Virginia truck drivers who receive their commercial driver's licenses after Feb. 7, 2020 will be trained under new regulations that have almost three years in which to take effect. The rule took effect on June 5 after a five-month delay as a result of an order by President Trump to review regulations.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has planned another 72-hour International Roadcheck spree of inspections. West Virginia truck drivers will be subject to compliance checks, enforcement and educational reminders. To prevent the loss of cargo during transit, inspectors will focus heavily on load securement in this year's event.
Despite the anti-regulatory push that is currently ongoing in the Trump administration, truck drivers in West Virginia and around the country may still expect new rules to be put in place for drivers who have sleep apnea. This is because the Supreme Court of the United States denied a writ of certiorari that was filed by a trucker who sued his carrier for asking that he undergo testing for sleep apnea.