DOT eyeing sleepy truck drivers

Sleepy truck drivers who get behind the wheel are falling under scrutiny from federal regulators.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration — both divisions of the Department of Transportation — announced Wednesday they are considering new restrictions for truck drivers as well as train engineers and conductors who suffer from sleep apnea. They issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking as they examine the matter.

The federal agencies are concerned this condition could cause truck drivers and railroad workers to doze off on the job, “reducing their capacity to safely respond to hazards” and placing others at risk.

"For individuals with [obstructive sleep apnea], eight hours of sleep can be less restful or refreshing than four hours of ordinary, uninterrupted sleep,” the agencies wrote in the Federal Register.

The federal agencies will consider the “potential consequences for safety” presented by truck drivers and railroad employees in “safety sensitive positions" who suffer from moderate-to-severe sleep apnea.

They may require these sleepy truck drivers and train conductors to seek medical treatment.

The public has 90 days to comment.