Earlier this week, several congressional officials in both New Jersey and New York asked the US Department of Transportation to reconsider its decision to discontinue testing of train and truck operators for sleep apnea.
The proposed reinstatement stems from recent fatal crashes at the Hoboken Terminal and the Metro-North in the Bronx where both engineers were later diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. The condition causes drowsiness and fatigue during the day, which can result in loss of concentration and accidents by those operating heavy machinery.
In their letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the senators called the proposed screening rule “a modest, common-sense approach to combating fatigue on our roads and rails.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been screening pilots for sleep apnea since 2015 and with their call for a reinstatement in testing, congressional officials are seeking to avoid any additional tragic railway incidents in the future.
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