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Statement on Sleep Apnea Legislation

Washington, DC — Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement in response to sleep apnea legislation introduced today by Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Bill Pascrell:

“Fatigue is a serious problem that has plagued the rail, bus, and truck industries for decades. While we applaud lawmakers for recognizing the gravity of this issue, focusing on one cause of fatigue alone — sleep apnea — is an incomplete approach.

“The causes of fatigue within these industries are varied and complex, which means adequately addressing this crisis will require a holistic approach. Factors like unpredictable work schedules, long shifts, other sleep disorders, and the unique types of work required in each sector all need to be considered. Furthermore, any legislation that regulates sleep apnea must ensure employees are not saddled with excessive treatment and testing costs. Additionally, those successfully treating sleep apnea should not encounter significant disruptions to work schedules or loss of employment.

“Regulating and evaluating sleep apnea is only one piece of the fatigue puzzle. We look forward to working with lawmakers to find solutions that will mitigate broader fatigue-related problems among workers, and ultimately make our transportation system safer.”

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