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The Honorable <Full Name>
United States Senate
Washington, DC <ZIP>
Dear Senator <NAME>:
My name is <Your Name> and I am one of your constituents and I live in <Your City>.
I am writing to ask for your support for the Senate Bill –– S.1883, to require the Department of Transportation to finish the rule for obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment among transportation workers.
The importance of safety for both the traveling public and the individual transportation workers cannot be overstated. It seems every day, there is a news report of another fatal accident caused by obstructive sleep apnea. But we need federal uniformity for both transportation workers and the traveling public. There’s a bill that’s languishing right now in committee and I ask you to support its passage. S-1883 will compel the Department of Transportation to finish the work on a rule that will provide for testing and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea among the nation’s truckers and rail workers.
Without federal certainty, people are dying. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled recently that obstructive sleep apnea was to blame for two rail accidents.
Under the current guidelines transportation workers face even more confusing, contradictory and costly for the workers. The Medical Review Board, which sets the standards and trains the certified medical examiners to conduct physicals, has no dental sleep medicine or other sleep professional among its members. We need a dental sleep medical specialist appointed to that board.
There is no one trained in the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea on the board and none of the certified medical examiners have experience in diagnosing the disease. In fact, drivers have said they often receive different results, depending upon the examiner. Then, drivers and railway workers face paying as much as $5,000 out-of-pocket for just one expensive treatment option that offers no guarantees of success.
Right now, as many as 18 million people are living undiagnosed. Those include railway operators and truck drivers, who are at higher risk because they lead more sedentary lives and maintain less regular sleep schedules.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a killer and if you know someone who snores, pay attention. Snoring is the body’s warning sign that the person is not getting sufficient oxygen and is at risk for obstructive sleep apnea. It is linked to so many life-threatening diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s Disease and even glaucoma. I know you would agree that anything we can do to improve the health and safety of the traveling public and transportation workers is beneficial to all.
I am asking that you call for S.1883 to be advanced in the SURFACE TRANSPORTATION AND MERCHANT MARINE INFRASTRUCTURE, SAFETY AND SECURITY subcommittee.
Thank you for your time and consideration.