The Latest: Agency bars engineers until apnea is controlled

AP News
|
Posted: Nov 21, 2016 4:22 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the federal government's recommendation that all railroads test engineers for sleep apnea (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The nation's second-busiest commuter railroad is no longer allowing engineers with sleep apnea to operate trains unless the condition is corrected or under control.

New Jersey Transit said it made the change last month after a deadly crash in which the engineer was later found to have sleep apnea.

Federal regulators are targeting the fatigue-inducing disorder this week with a new safety bulletin urging all railroads to screen engineers.

Metro-North, in the New York City suburbs, allows engineers with sleep apnea to keep operating trains as long as they're being treated.

That railroad started testing engineers after a deadly, sleep apnea-related crash in 2013. It found that 1 in 9 of its engineers suffers from sleep apnea.

Treatments for apnea include wearing a pressurized mask or oral appliances to force the airway open while sleeping.

___

This story has been corrected to show that NJ Transit is barring engineers with sleep apnea until the condition is corrected or under control, not all engineers being treated for sleep apnea.

___

12 a.m.

Federal regulators want railroads across the country to test train operators for a sleep disorder.

The safety advisory being issued this week by the Federal Railroad Administration comes after the engineer in September's deadly New Jersey commuter train crash was found to have the fatigue-inducing sleep apnea.

FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg tells The Associated Press that the safety advisory will stress the importance of sleep apnea screening and treatment.

The advisory is akin to a strong recommendation and is a stopgap measure while regulators draft rules to require railroads to screen engineers.

The attorney for the NJ Transit engineer whose train slammed into Hoboken Terminal at double the 10 mph speed limit says he was diagnosed after the crash that killed one woman standing on a platform.