This past year has seen New York state law makers putting an emphasis on commercial transportation. The has been fraught with dangers for passengers who ride the many commercial bus tourist and transportation lines. At least one commercial driving school has been shuttered following an investigation into a scheme meant to help people cheat on the commercial driving test; and new standards for commercial bus safety have been instituted statewide.

Now New York commercial truck drivers who might be at risk for developing or already have sleep apnea are coming under federal scrutiny. U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in conjunction with the American Transportation Research Institute of the American Trucking Associations, will begin screening commercial driver’s license holders thought to be susceptible to sleep apnea. The individuals who will be selected for screening will be those with a body mass index of 35 or above. If you have a number that high you will be forced to undergo mandatory sleep apnea testing or have to surrender your commercial driving privileges.

It is believed that sleep apnea sufferers are under stress brought about by their inability to get a good nights sleep. This stress can create fatigue which can lead to drivers falling asleep at the wheel, reduced attention span or reaction times and an inability to focus. Sleep apnea sufferers are prone to excessive snoring and often have trouble breathing while they are asleep. They are also known to have a high body mass index.

There is no known cure for sleep apnea. Treatments vary and results of those treatments vary even more widely.

It is not yet clear what will become of commercial drivers who test positive for sleep apnea. There are currently no plans to remove their licenses or prevent them from driving or working, but it seems likely that some further measures will be taken once the risk of sleep apnea has been identified.