Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Medical Advisory Board and the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain Devise Best Approach for Truckers with Sleep Apnea


July 30, 2013

Media Contact:

Robin Jones 202-223-4564 - robin@robinannjones.com

Washington, D. C. — In response to regulations under consideration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Medical Advisory Board, The American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP) presented an up-to-date scenario of oral appliances as a viable alternative to the CPAP or surgery and reintroduced the concept of home testing for truckers with sleep apnea. Dr. Elliott Alpher and Dr. Richard Klein, members of the AACP, led the discussion regarding a simpler, high-tech alternative of compliance chips in oral appliances and home sleep tests to keep drivers safe.

The meeting which was held at in the office of Anthony Foxx (United States Secretary of Transportation), was attended by Larry Minor (Associate Administrator for Policy), Marty Russo (lobbyist and former congressman of Illinois), Shannon Watson (Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Policy), Elaine Papp (Chief, Medical Programs Division), Angela Ward (Occupational Health Nurse, Medical Programs Division) and Lucas Robinson (Intern, Office of Policy). That team met with four experts including Dr. Elliott Alpher and Dr. Richard Klein who are co-chair of the Sleep Committee of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP). Dr. Elliott Alpher teaches at George Washington and Georgetown Universities, and has lead the effort to inform government officials with facts regarding OSA and the relation to the transportation industry. Inventor Dr. Rick Bonnato (President of Braebon Corporation), Mr. Mitch Livingston (Vice President of Braebon Corporaton), and Mr. David Gergen (President of Gergen Orthodontic Laboratories) were the other experts present.

The conversation focused on various causes and treatments for truck drivers and other transportation personnel that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep—often due to weight issues—and can lead to serious health concerns. Due to the trucker lifestyle, many truckers suffer from sleep apnea. Oral appliances help keep the tongue in place to keep the airways open for easier breathing, better sleeping and are considered an equal alternative to the CPAP for those unable or unwilling to use it. In the past, objections to oral appliances for those drivers who would not wear a CPAP machine were that compliance and usage was not measureable. With this new technology, compliance and usage are measureable. In addition, it would allow monitoring of each driver’s progress and ensure their treatment settings are relevant.

The group agreed that oral appliances with the new technology of compliance chips—a device that actually indicates that the truckers are wearing their sleep device coupled with home sleep testing—would be a superior and much easier alternative to the CPAP or major surgery. The home sleep test would allow the truckers and their doctors to monitor their sleep right from the cabs of their trucks or hotel rooms.

Downloadable File: Truckers With Sleep Apnea