Home > All Mercertown Blog Posts, CSA 2010, Safety > SLEEP APNEA / BMI


I want to try to clear up a lot of rumors that I continue to hear about Body Mass Index (BMI). Uncle Lennie and I have discussed BMI, and its direct correlation with Sleep Apnea a couple of times on the blog.  The most widespread rumor I continue to hear is that truck drivers continue to believe that they will eventually lose their CDL because they are too fat!  This is absolutely false!

Just because your BMI may be considered high, doesn’t mean you will lose your job.  It may just mean that eventually, the FMCSA will require you to be tested for Sleep Apnea.  If you are diagnosed with Sleep Apnea you will not lose your CDL!  You will just be required at that point to carry a CPAP machine in the truck.

The FMCSA says that nearly one-third of drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles suffer from mild to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Most of those drivers suffer from sleep apnea, because they are considered to be overweight, based on their BMI.  They are concerned about this because they believe that Sleep Apnea leads to fatigued drivers, which leads to increased risk of accidents.

There is some discussion on what is considered a high BMI.  Some say that drivers should be tested for sleep apnea if they have a BMI that is higher than 30.  Some say testing should occur when a drivers BMI reaches 33.  To put this in perspective for you, I am about 6 feet tall, and 218 pounds.  If you have ever met me, you would probably consider me average size.  My BMI is on the borderline (between 29 and 30) of overweight and obese.  That was a big surprise to me.  So if you think that it won’t apply to you, guess again.

Testing for Sleep Apnea is not mandatory yet.  But I would bet that soon it will be.  The FMCSA is really pushing this issue.  Like I said, fatigued driving leads to more accidents.  But let me make it clear that just because you have a high BMI, doesn’t mean you will lose your CDL!  Have a great day, and GO MERCER!

  1. Sandy
    May 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Being tested for sleep apnea can SAVE YOUR LIFE. If you stop breathing, being sleepy and fatigued during the day isn’t the only thing you have to be concerned about, also there’s the possibility you could cause an accident. AND YOU COULD STOP BREATHING FOR GOOD one of these nights. You may not start breathing again. If anyone is concerned because they are fatigued during the day, and are quite overweight or not, it would be advisable to be tested. There are quite a few symptoms-check it out on the web.

  2. Danny Williams
    May 18, 2010 at 8:27 am

    The problem I see is the fact that it cost so much for the test and the equipment.I dont have $1500 to do a study and if it becomes mandatory it will be hard for me to comeply. I do think I have sleep apnea but I dont have the money to fix it now.
    Everyone be safe and have a good day.

    • Sandy
      May 18, 2010 at 9:01 am

      Danny, that’s what insurance is for. They cover most of it.

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