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The ATS Applauds New Legislation Addressing Sleep Apnea Among Transportation Workers

Sept. 29, 2017 – The American Thoracic Society applauds the efforts of New York Senators Charles Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and New Jersey Senators Cory Booker (D) and Bob Menendez (D) for their legislation to improve transportation safety by addressing sleep apnea.  We believe screening for sleep disorders like sleep apnea and ensuring appropriate treatment for sleep related illness will improve the health of transportation workers and improve the safety of the U.S. transportation system for all travelers.

“As experts in the diagnosis, treatment and research of sleep-related disorders, we know that sleep disorders like sleep apnea can lead to impaired decision-making, delayed reaction times and increased workplace accidents and fatalities,” said ATS Past-President and sleep expert David Gozal, MD, MBA. “Because of the trust Americans put in the men and women who run our transportation system, it is important that we appropriately identify and treat transportation workers for sleep disordered breathing.”

Screening for and treating sleep disorders improve the health and well-being of patients with sleep disorders, including transportation workers. “We cannot and should not underestimate the value of sleep,” said Sanjay R. Patel, MD, ATS member and sleep expert. “That screening for sleep disordered breathing among transportation workers was ever contested, is regrettable. We should move forward with legislation that will improve the safety of all Americans and improve the health and well-being of the men and women in the transportation industry.”