Tired truckers monitored by government

Published: Monday, November 18, 2013 @ 5:45 PM
Updated: Monday, November 18, 2013 @ 5:45 PM

Thousands of trucks drive through the Miami Valley day and night and some may be falling asleep behind the wheel.

Truck drivers are at a higher risk of falling asleep for a number of reasons, but one local driver says federal regulations are now going too far.

Wayne Foutz of Dayton told us that he is a model driver and has never been involved in an accident in his 14 years as a commercial truck driver.

During a recent physical, Foutz was told that because of his size, he might be putting others at risk on the road. He was sent to a clinic where he said he was diagnosed with sleep apnea without ever seeing a doctor. A clinic employee handed him a machine.

"She came out with this thing under her arm and said the doctor sent an email and you have sleep apnea," he said.

Foutz is part of a growing statistic according to one study, that says nearly 30 percent of truckers have sleep apnea.

"They can become very, very sleepy, sleep much longer than they normally would, and sometimes be completely unaware of what is going on," said Dr. Mike Bonnet of
Kettering Sycamore Hospital. "It kind of becomes the perfect storm for people who are going to have alertness problems."

However, Wayne Foutz believes the government is going too far by making him buy a $1500 CPAP machine that monitors his usage.

All this for someone who says he does not have sleep apnea.

Congressman Larry Buchshon of Indiana is trying to put a stop to this.

"It's an issue...the government telling someone that they have to do something like wear a CPAP machine," said Buchshon.

Corey Flenorl is an over-the-road trucker and said he has seen his fair share of accidents. He supports the government screening truckers for sleep apnea.

"It's a much needed test, very much needed," Flenorl said.

Wayne Foutz says being monitored is invasive.

"If you're prescribed a medication, they don't send goons to make sure you take them," Foutz said. "I've got a wall full of awards that they've given me and
apparently, I've earned them in my sleep."

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