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Congress undoing safety changes to truck driver hours-of-service rules

7 comments

Congress has passed $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill to keep the federal government running through 2016.

Included in the bill: a Senate amendment to suspend the parts of the hours of service (HOS) rules for trucking safety.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the current HOS rules in 2013. The current rules dictate a maximum work-week of 70 hours, but after a 34-hour “restart,” a driver can resume driving before the new week begins.

Comparison of HOS Rules

Limits on minimum “34-hour restarts”:

Prior rule:     No limits

Current rule:     Two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., home terminal time. May only be used once per week, 168 hours, starting from the beginning of the previous restart.

New rule:      34-hour restart with no time restrictions. No limit on the number of times truckers can declare the start of a new workday.

The new rule is undoing the 2013 changes meant to prevent driver fatigue, and reduce the risk of serious truck crashes.

The Safety Impact of Trucking Laws

A study by Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research compared fatigue levels in truck drivers who took one nighttime (1 am – 5 am) break between shifts with drivers who had two or more nighttime breaks between shifts.

  • Semi-truck drivers who had two or more nighttime periods between driving shifts did not experience as many lapses of attention;
  • Truckers maintained their lane position better; and
  • Drivers reported less sleepiness while on duty.

FMCSA implemented the current rule based on research showing that truck driver fatigue was one of the most common factors in semi-truck accidents and fatalities.

The current HOS rules will be suspended until at least September 2015.

As a provision of this trucking law change, FMCSA has to complete a study on the current rules and their impact before they can take effect again.

 

7 Comments

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  1. Jerry says:
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    Make sure you do research before posting false info. The study never tested real truck drivers just the ones who are home everyday and sleep in their own needs, of course they sleep between 1&5. Not everyone sleeps overnight, some people work saying shift and midnight shifts. Many truckers drive overnight to avoid rush hour traffic and school zones. Do you want your morning commute loaded with trucks become done stupid rule will no real testing or research decided everyone must sleep when it’s dark and drive during daylight hours.

  2. mike says:
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    As a driver I can tell you the new rules actually made me feel more fatigue. This is mainly because I drive over nights so the forced me to shift my sleep to comply with the law. Glad this unsuitable requirement is gone the next issue is the fourteen hour max work day basically makes it so if I want to take a nap I can’t till I make my delivery. If the pushed it to 18 I bet we would see safer drivers. For those who don’t know the law allows a max work day of 14 hours 11 hours driving and a requires a 30 minute break in between the 3 and 8 th hour to get you max driving. So by moving the fourteen up doesn’t change driving but allows us time to shut down and rest in the day. The 30 minute is completely pointless and provides no help

  3. Elbert White says:
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    That’s good news for everone except anyone on eLogs. The next step would be the radically modify the 11/14 pr just do away with it. I for one have no intention to die behind the wheel and do not need anyone telling me how to drive. Been driving for 30 years and never had fatigue problems until I got on eLogs. With paper logs I could drive any way I felt comfortable and then make up new logs to fit after I used my 70. Sure it was illegal, but it was safer. You are still controlled by having company fuel records and GPS location in the system. But I could drive whatever kept me rested, such as 4 on 2 off, 3 on 2 off, 5 on 8 off. Just a random example. Nobody needs 10 off. After 6 to 8 hours you just wake up and can’t go back to sleep. It’s a waste of 2 hours. Never been tired doing that. But now with eLogs, not only do I have to take off 10 when I don’t want it or need it, but I am forced tp drive half a day straight through when you figure a 15 minute PTI, 15 minutes to fuel and that stupid, useless 30 minute mandatory break. You’ve now been going for at least 12 hours with no viable sleep. I can’t deal with it. I mean I do deal with it, I have mo choice, but there are days that I just can’t without driving drowsey and can’t stop because there’s not enough time in the delivery schedule to risk an extra 10 hour break if you stop after say 6 hours and sleep 5. And what I’m talking about here doesn’t even include the way a 3 or 4 hour wait to load or unload can destroy a work day. Or how about arriving to deliver and running out of hours on arrival, the customer won’t allow you park on the premisis, there’s no parking on the street, and the nearest truck stop is 30 to 45 minutes away – but you are on eLogs, the clock is ticking, you can’t stop it, you can’t modify it. Tge government pays these so called experts, who are fools, to do studies. But they know what results the government wants, because the government and special interest groups against truckers all want control. So these study groups who are being paid by the government and are working for the government skew their results to fit the governmemts needs – all the while helping the government decide to pass laws that actually make it less safe. You can bet your butt that this repeal to the reset would never have happened if it had not been proven that the US economy has taken a 4% hit from it. ELogs need to be thrown out or eliminate the 14 hour rule And go back to 8 hours off after a maximum of 16 combined on duty/driving, but a maximum of 10 hours driving. That way you can drive 10/8, 10/8 or get all the sleep you need.

  4. Mark says:
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    Have you ever complained about all the truck traffic at 5am? The 1-5 am provision forced many of us to clog the arteries of hiways because of the mandatory consecutive 2 days off between 1-5′ originally they wanted between 12 am and 6 am. Did you ever wonder why that gallon of milk went to $5? Fuel to outrageous $$! Every law has impacts, that is when you force someone to do something unnatural and expect safe results. Yes, there needs some form of management of hos, but be realistic, the required break is a joke, I was a lot safer when I took my break when I felt like it, we don’t tell nuclear physicists how to manage nuclear protocols without knowing what reactions will happen, if anything that worthless reset caused me to be more tired, I might as well be a vampire, I work best at night and sleep best in the day, can’t tell you how many times I was more fatigued after being forced to be off between 1-5, not to mention speeding like a race car to get logged off before 1 am, law was bull@@@@ from the beginning, not to mention cost me over $10,000 in lost wages a year, that’s $20,000 to date since the change. Just an opinion.

  5. Thomas says:
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    If they would just bump up the freight rates and the drivers actually got some of that money all of this mess would stop. Drivers make chicken scratch for what we do while the broker’s, agents and companies line they’re pockets.

  6. wesley Sik says:
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    Thank God they changed it back to doing a 34 hour restart when ever we want. Makes life a lot easier.Now if they could get rid of that stupid 1/2 hour mandatory break and let me stop when I want to when I need to during my 11 hour drive time will make my bladder a lot gladder.By the way I been driving for 29 years and the changes they made in 2013 made absolutely no since at all. Over 3 million miles of safe driving.Wes

  7. Cameron says:
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    I have been driving for 15 years now most of them hauling livestock. Yes we fudge our books to get the loads done but it is the way it has to be. Elogs will make it virtually impossible to haul livestock cause I and most drivers will not run as a team. The problems with wrecks come from the larger companies that hire people with no experience and turn them loose with a truck. The fatigue comes from the same drivers having to sit there all day at 62mph. There should be tougher mandates on who can have a license not on those who have been driving safely for many years. I have no intention to sleep behind the wheel. I stop and take a short nap if I get tired then go on safely.