Just days after the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it would no longer seek a federal rule to test train and truck operators for sleep apnea, Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted the agency and demanded it reconsider the rule.
“It doesn’t take Albert Einstein to understand why it is so important to begin the process of requiring sleep apnea testing across-the-board and at the federal level,” Schumer said while standing at the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Mineola station on Tuesday. “We don’t want train engineers with undiagnosed sleep apnea, who actually hold lives in their hands, to fall asleep at the switch and we don’t want big-rig drivers to doze off at the wheel. That’s why NTSB’s recommendations to get this done should be the law of the land and why I have pushed so hard on this subject for years.”
A proposed rule requiring testing of train and truck operators was dropped as part of the Trump administration’s push to eliminate regulations that could impact economic growth, the Atlantic said.
A number of high profile train crashes in the Northeast in recent years have been attributed to sleep apnea, including a Jan. 4 LIRR accident that injured 103 people. The National Transportation Safety Board has called for sleep apnea testing for commercial operators for more than 10 years.
The MTA, which oversees LIRR as well as New York’s transit system, is moving forward with a sleep apnea testing program, although Schumer believes it should be mandated for all railroads and commercial trucking so companies can’t choose to stop testing at some point.
Did you know?
As of 2016, U.S. West Coast ports received 53.8% of containerized cargo into the country, but that is expected to shrink in the coming years as more East Coast and Gulf Coast ports accept larger vessels due to the Panama Canal expansion, according to JLL Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) 2017 Seaport report.
“This abrupt and uncalled for withdrawal [of the sleep apnea proposed rule] by USDOT commemorates a disaster waiting to happen and that’s why I’m now calling on the both of these agencies to get these rules and this process back on track. It is high time to move forward with making sleep apnea testing a federal requirement, no ifs ands or butts about it.”
- Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY
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Turning old malls into distribution centers
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There are 11 states competing to have Toyota and Mazda build their planned $1.6 billion plant in their states. The plant is expended to produce up to 4,000 jobs and untold millions in revenue for states due to additional jobs as suppliers pop up near the plants.
Hammer down everyone!