Driving With Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a breathing-related sleep disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can last at least 10 seconds or more and can occur up to 400 times a night. Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that often goes unrecognized and undiagnosed.

What Level of Sleep Apnea (mild, moderate, severe) Disqualifies a CMV Driver?

The disqualifying level of sleep apnea is moderate to severe, which interferes with safe driving. The medical examiner must qualify and determine a driver’s medical fitness for duty.

Can You Still Drive if You Have Sleep Apnea?

Yes! While FMCSA regulations do not specifically address sleep apnea, they do prescribe that a person with a medical history or clinical diagnosis of any condition likely to interfere with their ability to drive safely cannot be medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce.

However, once successfully treated, a driver may regain their “medically-qualified-to-drive” status. It is important to note that most cases of sleep apnea can be treated successfully.

Because each State sets its own medical standards for driving a CMV in intrastate commerce, check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles for regulations in your State.

What Level of Sleep Apnea (mild, moderate, severe) Disqualifies a CMV Driver?

The disqualifying level of sleep apnea is moderate to severe, which interferes with safe driving. The medical examiner must qualify and determine a driver’s medical fitness for duty.

 

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