FMCSA recruiting drivers for HOS restart study

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 1/20/2015

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is recruiting truck drivers and carriers to participate in a study of the hours-of-service restart provision.

Congress, in a 2015 appropriations bill, rolled back the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. provision in the 34-hour restart and directed FMCSA to study the effects of the restart on drivers.

FMCSA says the study will measure and compare fatigue and safety performance levels of drivers who take two nighttime rest periods that incorporate the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. during a 34-hour restart and drivers who take fewer than two nighttime rest periods incorporating the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The agency says it will compensate drivers for their time, but there are tradeoffs. Participating drivers and carriers must use electronic logging devices and submit to monitoring on a daily basis. They will also be monitored with cameras that record alertness.

Drivers must also submit to daily alertness tests, wear watches that record their sleep and awake time, record caffeine intake, report sleepiness, and complete a survey.

FMCSA says the study will compare five-month work schedules for the two driver samples.

“The sample of drivers, which will be large enough to produce statistically significant results, will include drivers from small, medium, and large fleets across a variety of operations (long-haul, short-haul and regional). The study will also include different sectors of the industry such as flatbed, refrigerated, tank and dry-van,” FMCSA states on its website explaining the study.

FMCSA incorporated the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. overnight rest provision in a rule change that went into effect on July 1, 2013.

The U.S. Senate’s 2015 appropriations bill for transportation and housing, signed into law on Dec. 15, 2014, included an amendment filed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that immediately suspended the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. provision and required FMCSA to conduct the restart study.

OOIDA supported the Collins amendment, which restores some of the flexibility truckers asked for during the rulemaking process and at listening sessions related to hours of service.

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