Oh, no! A recent recall of sleep apnea machines could cause some of your commercial motor vehicle operators to lose their medical exemptions.
Nearly 4 million devices made by Philips Respironics were recently recalled, raising questions as to whether professional truck drivers can continue to legally drive if their sleep apnea is untreated.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has yet to issue new guidance on enforcement in light of the recall, causing widespread confusion in the trucking industry.
An Oregon-based truck driver recently sued Philips over the recall, claiming that he cannot legally drive with untreated sleep apnea after the BiPAP machine he purchased in 2020 was recalled.
The devices are being recalled because they contain polyester-based polyurethane foam used for sound abatement that can break down and be inhaled or ingested, resulting in a potentially serious injury that can be life threatening or cause permanent impairment.
The Philips Respironics recall applies to devices made before April 26, 2021.
Under the law, operators with sleep apnea are only allowed to continue driving legally if their medical condition is being treated.
If one of your drivers has sleep apnea and uses a recalled device, tell him or her to contact his or her doctor to see whether there are alternative treatment options available.
If there are, they can continue to drive.
Note: You can access a list of recalled devices by clicking here.
(From the Aug. 30, 2021, issue of Transportation Manager’s Dispatch. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)