Josh RultenbergAug 8, 2017, 10:46 am

Federal agencies: Screening of sleep apnea will not be required of railroad workers

News comes in aftermath of deadly train accidents believed to be linked to disorder


CROTON-HARMON — The Trump Administration is backing off of a proposed requirement to test railroad engineers and truckers for sleep apnea. The news comes at the dismay of some who remember some deadly crashes believed to be linked to the disorder.

Commuters on Metro-North's Hudson line remember it like it was yesterday. A little under four years ago, a Metro-North train came through the line before crashing in the Bronx. The cause of the accident: The engineer fell asleep at the controls. And while there have been federal regulations since to prevent it from happening again, the federal government is now backtracking.

On Friday, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said they won't require sleep apnea screening for commercial truckers, bus drivers and railroad workers.

The agencies said they'll continue to encourage voluntary screening and existing rules and programs are best with any issues.

Regulations were developed following the fatal train crash in the Bronx that killed four people, injuring 61 and caused $9 million in damage.

A southbound Metro-North train headed from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan jumped off the tracks at 82 miles an hour along a corner near Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx. The National Transportation Safety Board found engineer William Rockefeller fell asleep due to undiagnosed sleep apnea.

The disorder is also being looked at as a possible cause of the deadly Hoboken train crash in New Jersey in 2015 and the Long Island Railroad crash at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn earlier this year.

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