Despite the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals previously dismissing their lawsuit, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) recently filed a motion asking the court to reconsider their suit. The suit argues that a recent rule change by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding sleep apnea screenings for tractor-trailer drivers violated federal law. Sleep apnea rules affect drivers across Mississippi given that fatigued driving is a major contributing factor in truck accidents.
According to the OOIDA, the FMCSA’s recent rule change violated a 2013 statute that requires the formal rulemaking process to be used for any rule change relating to sleep apnea screening. Under this formal procedure, the FMCSA is required to provide a period of public notice and comment before any regulation can be amended. It is the OOIDA’s position that the recent rule change is unlawful because it did not go through the formal rulemaking process.
The FMCSA disagrees with the OOIDA’s position. According to the FMCSA, the rule change did not ‘substantively change" requirements related to sleep apnea screening. The Administration also argued that the rule merely amended the forms used by the Department of Transportation for driver health screenings.
Truck accidents that are caused by fatigued drivers can be devastating. An individual injured by a fatigued driver may be entitled to damages including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An attorney experienced in personal injury law may be able to help a victim negotiate a settlement with the responsible party or his or her insurance company. If a settlement isn’t possible, a lawyer can assist that individual with filing a lawsuit. Through a lawsuit, an attorney may be able to discover evidence helpful to the case and eventually seek a judgment for those damages at trial.