On December 1st, 2013, a Metro North passenger train derailed in the Bronx, NY, killing 4, injuring 61 and causing $9 million in property damage. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the Metro North derailment was caused by the driver of the train falling asleep due to undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. In 2015, another 11,233 train incidents took place including 1,856 accidents and 1,314 derailments in 2015, resulting in 821 lives lost. Among commuter trains, 1,453 passengers were injured and 17 were killed. Nearly 30% of train collisions are related to fatigue or excessive sleepiness, according the Federal Railway Administration (FRA).
Together with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) the FRA published a request to gather information related to establishing obstructive sleep apnea screening guidelines for train operators. Their lives and the lives of others are often dependent on their ability to operate while fully functional at all times. In response to this request, the American Sleep Apnea Society has prepared this white paper to address specific questions provided by the agencies.