Why Have a Program?

It's about Drivers, Period.

There are many well reasoned and well thought out logical and financial sounds reasons to have a program to address sleep apnea in your trucking company. We address those financial concerns for you to bring up to your CFO in the discussion on this separate page. However, we understand as well as you do that the decision to address sleep apnea in your trucking company is really about one thing: GOOD DRIVERS. In the best of times they are difficult to recruit and even harder to retain. Companies spend thousands of dollars per year on signing bonuses and incentive programs just to attract the best candidates to their organizations. So what does this have to do with OSA? Allow us to explain.

Recruitement. In the joint recommendations of the Medical Review Board (MRB) and the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) they placed the need for having a sleep test at a BMI threshold of 35. According to the DOT statisticians in that meeting a BMI of 35 would include right around 30% of the entire trucking industry. An individual with a BMI of 35 or more has been shown to have a 1:1 relationship in testing positive for OSA. By these statistics we can safely assume that in the near future almost one out of every three drivers will test positive for OSA and require treatment to drive for ANY company. In addition to this and in efforts to appease the medical community, who have given evidence for the need of a significantly lower BMI threshold, they listed a BMI over 28 in 'Other Factors' that may require testing.

With that in mind there are really two different mentalities in how to address this concern: 1) you can force the driver to address it on their own or 2) you can have a program that helps them to address it on some level. The decision is ultimately up to you.. but we all know that the drivers will talk and most drivers will end up flocking to a trucking company that offers them some form of assistance in addressing sleep apnea. For the majority of drivers, just seeking out a reputable testing and treatment program alone can be daunting and it may not even be something that they can afford even through insurance. Bills are always higher going through insurance and most policies do not cover enough to make it easy for the driver. This means they will seek a trucking company with a sleep apnea program to help them or they simply leave the industry altogether. By not addressing the issue at all, you will be cutting yourself off from over 30% of the driver pool.

Retention. The good news is having a program in place in your trucking company to address sleep apnea has been shown to significantly improve overall driver retention. In seperate studies conducted by the FMCSA (FMCSA-RT-04-007), the ATRI and UPENN they highlight that the exact rate of improved retention among drivers that have been tested and treated for underlying issues with sleep apnea is over 55% higher than other drivers. This comes in large part because of all of the significant health improvements realized in the life of the driver who is compliant under treatment.

The general thought behind this increased retention is that drivers who experience these life changing effects have a stronger sense of loyaty and connection with the organization that helped them to realize the positive change. Try to think of the situation from the driver's perspective. If you knew that your current company both held sleep apnea as a priority AND had a program in place to address any issues that may come up with your treatment it would create a larger barrier toward leaving that trucking company.

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