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Local truckers won't be required by federal government to test for common sleep disorder

President Trump's administration just announced it's rolling back regulations on truck drivers. (Image: WTVC)

For decades, Chattanooga has been known as "Freight Alley."

"Chattanooga is one of the top logistics locations in the entire country," Guru Shah, CEO of Shah Trucking LLC, told NewsChannel 9.

Surrounded by highways and rail lines, Chattanooga is bound to be impacted by the Trump administration announcing this week that it will rollback a regulation that requires truck drivers and train engineers be tested for sleep apnea.

"Sleep Apnea just means that you're not breathing for at least ten seconds," Medical Director of the Memorial Regional Sleep Center, Dr. Vincent Viscomi said.

According to Dr. Viscomi, the sleep disorder affects "about 10%" of the population and is "known to cause strokes and heart attacks."

While the disorder is disruptive and "not good" for anyone, the danger it poses surges when it comes to truck drivers.

"If they have untreated sleep apnea, their crash rate goes up four or five-fold," Dr. Viscomi said.

That statistic makes drivers like Janelle Lashley concerned for their safety.

"It's dangerous it really is," Lashley said.

Although Lashley supports Trump, she's unsure of this most recent rollback.

"I believe in Trump and what he's trying to do but I do think we need to think safety first on this issue," Lashley told NewsChannel 9.

Guru Shah is on board when it comes to safety first.

"Everything we do we air on being conservative and cautious," Shah said of his companies safety practices.

Shah believes the rollback does provide some benefits to trucking companies like his own.

"It opens up the driver pool and that's great but at the same time we're very discerning about who we hire," Shah said.

Dr. Viscomi said that many "trucking companies are very proactive. What they've been doing is testing all of their drivers that are concerned and making sure they actually use their devices."

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