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Congress Shouldn’t Roll Back Safety; the Steps We’ve Taken Keep Tired Truckers off the Road

Congress Shouldn’t Roll Back Safety; the Steps We’ve Taken Keep Tired Truckers off the Road

Improving safety and saving lives is at the heart of our mission at DOT. That's why we are committed to keeping tired truckers off the road--for their safety and the safety of others--through common sense rules backed by science, research, and data.

In 2012, thanks to our continued economic recovery and increased demand for freight shipping, there were nearly 10.7 million tractor-trailers and large trucks on the roads in the U.S., with the trucking industry experiencing unprecedented profitability this year.

But that demand has come with a price. Since 2009, we've seen an 18 percent increase in large truck crash fatalities. To put that in perspective, in one year alone, large trucks were involved in 317,000 traffic crashes resulting in an average of 75 deaths per week. That's 11 per day.

Photo collage of families torn apart by truck crashes

Fatigue is under-reported in crash accounts because drivers often don’t want to admit to being at-fault or sleepy. However, we know that driver fatigue is a leading factor in large truck crashes; in fact, analysis has shown that upward of 13 percent of commercial drivers involved in a crash were considered to have been fatigued at the time of that crash.

That’s why we have rules limiting the number of hours that train engineers and airline pilots can work, and it’s why we have a new rule for truck drivers, too. Less than one year ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) put new Hours-of-Service regulations into effect to ensure that drivers have the adequate rest they need to safely operate 80,000-pound commercial vehicles on the road with other motorists.

The current Hours-of-Service rule includes common sense, data-driven changes to reduce truck driver fatigue and improve safety by reducing the maximum average work week for truckers to 70 hours from 82 hours and requiring a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of their shift.

We carefully considered the public safety and health risks of long work hours, and solicited input from everyone who has a stake in this important issue, including victims’ advocates, truck drivers and companies. The result is a balanced Hours-of-Service rule with analysis showing that the changes save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year. It also shows that the updated rule actually impacts less than 15 percent of the truck driving population –those drivers working the most extreme schedules.

Seems reasonable, right? Well, you might be surprised to learn that there’s an effort underway in Congress to suspend these important life-saving changes. To prevent this from happening, many victims are sharing their stories in support of the current Hours-of-Service rules. People like Christina and Gary Mahaney from Jackman, Maine.

Photos of devastation after logging truck crashed into house

On July 19, 2011, a tired trucker dozed off and crashed a 104,000-pound logging truck on their front lawn, spilling logs into their home and killing their 5-year-old son, Liam who was relaxing on the couch with his parents. Christina and Gary were also injured, and their home was destroyed. The Mahaneys are still struggling to find justice for the death of their son.

On August 16, 2010, a family from Cockeysville, Maryland, was devastated when the tired driver of a triple trailer truck hit five passenger vehicles and two other semis on an Ohio thruway. The first car it crashed into carried the Slattery family. Susan Slattery was killed in the crash while her two sons, Peter and Matthew, were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Matthew was left permanently disabled. He, Peter, and their father Ed relive the loss of Susan every day she is not with them.

And on September 20, 2004, near Sherman, Texas, Ron Wood’s mother, Betsy, his sister Lisa Wood Martin, and Lisa’s three young children were on their way home when a truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel, crossed the median into oncoming traffic, and collided with Lisa's SUV and another vehicle. After being hit by the truck, Lisa’s SUV burst into flames, making it impossible to reach the victims trapped inside.

First responders reported that it was the worst crash they had ever seen. In an instant, five members of the Wood family were gone; in all, ten people were killed and two more injured in that single crash.

I understand that long work hours can be a touchy subject, because many truckers are only paid when the wheels are rolling, not the time they spend sitting in traffic or waiting pickup or unload shipments. But these families remind all of us at the FMCSA that our work is not done until everyone on the road can make it home safely at the end of the day. And as a wife and mother of two, I am committed to preventing tragedies like those that have been shared with me.

It’s important that we continue studying the impact of fatigue on commercial drivers and public safety to make our regulations even more effective. But this we know right now: suspending the current Hours-of-Service safety rules will expose families and drivers to greater risk every time they're on the road.

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Still there are 10 million more car accidents compared to big rigs 317,00 plus.

And this is what results from lawyers who have never seen the inside of a truck making rules. They all SOUND nice and safe and wonderful.. but they're completely inflexible.. there's a million different ways you might be forced into driving past hours of service for one reason or another and just a couple extra hours now and again would save the day.. but nope..no leeway. And sorry.. all the trip planning in the world can't predict a shipper that delays you.. full truck stops at 2pm.. a surprise DOT inspection that eats up your day.. all forcing you onto the road with no legal hours left. Oh yeah and that truckstop that I did actually stop at? Yeah shame that noisy truckers, or a prostitute banging on the truck.. or just tossing and turning kept me up.. cause now I'm legally driving tired.. instead of being able to just drive for a few more hours.. then rest for 5 or 6.. then drive from another 8.. because that will put me illegal again. You toss out these examples because you want to shock people into compliance. I'm telling you as a practical matter I'm far more tired driving under the current HOS than I would be otherwise. The problem was companies forcing tired drivers out onto the road. Only difference now is the government is forcing us out there.

WHY IS IT JUST US TRUCK DRIVERS THAT YOU WANT TO REGULATE? What about the cars and drivers of such cars? Playing and talking on their phones not paying attention to the traffic. If you want to really make trucking safer take away the distractions like computers on the dash, automatic trucks that let the drivers put their feet up on the dash while driving. How about more than 4 weeks of training before they get a CDL or better yet make it harder to get a CDL. Elogs and tracking devices or speed limiters aren't going to make drivers safer. The only real way to make the roads safer is the proper training. These big companies hire people rush them through a 4 week class that isn't one on one then once they have a CDL they put them in a truck with a person who might have their CDL for six month to train them? Hello there's your safety issue. These new drivers aren't prepared or taught right. They push D and hold on. The trucks are equipped with all the new safety stuff and they still wreck. Why is that you ask way to many distractions. I see them every day playing with their elogs while driving, playing on their phones and watching movies on laptops all while they're supposed to be paying attention to what they're driving. We had less wrecks before you tech junkies started putting systems in trucks. You can slow trucks down , put all kinds of computer systems in but without the proper training nothing is going to make anyone any safer. I feel for these families that had injury due to someone that pushes the limits but it's not going to stop until you change the way these people are taught. Make the schools longer like maybe a year of training before these people get a CDL. I take pride in being a third generation truck driver and pride in how long I was taught before my family would let me even take the test. It made me better prepared to be a driver. I don't have all the distractions on or in my truck and don't want or need them. Truck driving isn't for everyone like these schools try to say and the fmcsa should know that. Maybe there should be a common sense quiz before you hand out CDL's like tic tacs. I've been driving for 22 years and ever since you all started making it easier to get a license I've seen more wrecks. Just go sit at a truck stop and watch these guys try to park. If they can't back into a parking space easy they shouldn't be driving at all and how in the hell did they pass their CDL test if they can't back up? It's called training not limiters or elogs or HOS or any other device but go ahead and waist more money and time because that's what the government does best. You can do study after study but until you get out here and do it yourself you're just waisting everyone's time and money.

Why exactly do the hours of service regulations encourage companies to push their drivers for 21 or so hour days (11 hours on, 10 hours off)? That doesn't exactly match the normal 24-hour-or-so natural schedule humans are adapted to. That alone contributes to fatigue.

I find the caveat of a "new" hours of service rule laughable at best and outright disingenious at worst. Nothing new was ever put into effect. The only thing that happened was toying around a little with what was already there. That being said, you are on entirely the wrong course for addressing driver fatigue. In actuality, all you are doing is making drivers more fatigued behind the wheel. Take an electronic leash (ELD), give it a 14 hour clock and you are always racing against that leash. Another thing we apparently have is a blatant misunderstanding of what violates HOS rules. Let's make it simple. The only thing that violates any of the 4 clocks is driving AFTER the alloted time. I could come on-duty (logging line 4) at 0001 hours on the first day of the month, and stay on line 4 until 0001 hours on the 9th day of the month, logging 8 straight 24 hour shifts of duty for a total of 192 hours of work and NOT violate anything. Now, if, during the course of that 8 day periid, I manage to get a 34 hour restart, that means I would have only worked 158 hours. However, since most over the road drivers only get paid if the wheels are turning, let's contemplate a full day of work every single day. That means I get a full 14 and 11 each day. By doing that, having 14 hours on duty and driving each day, after 5 days. I would have burned 60 hours of my 70 hour clock. Assuming I came on duty at 0001 on the first day of the month, work 14 and go off duty for my 10 hour break at 1401 hours, by 1401 hours on the fifth day of the month 60 available hours are gone. So, at 0001 on the sixth day of the month I take off and at 1001 hours, I shut down out of hours and have nothing coming back on recap. So, 34 hours later is 2001 on the 7th day. I maximize my time again for 14 more hours and shut down at 1001 the following morning. After a 10 hour break, I am up again and run my last 4 hours in that 8 day cycle. This shows, theoretically, and without the 30 minute break, that I can pull 88 hours of duty time in an 8 day period, by using maximum hours every day. Factor in a 30 minute break 6 times and we are down to a maximum of 85 hours. Perhaps it would be 84.5 hours, depending on where your restart fell. So, that is a 2.5 to 3 hour variance from.the 82 hours you specified above. But there is a legal way around that 30 minute break. The reality is the vast majority of drivers only put in 10 to 11 total hours each day anyhow. With the now suspended requirement for two consecutive days of time off between 0100 and 0500, that ensured some drivers were getting nearly 3 days of reset time (assuming they started at 0101 on day one), we could see a whole slew of trucks hitting the road at 0500, creating even bigger problems than there otherwise would have been. If FMCSA is serious about reducing driver fatiguex there are a couple of things you could do to work that direction. First, eliminate sleeper time from counting against the 14. Why? Shouldn't a driver be able to stop, without penalty, to take a nap when they feel tired and need a nap? Sometimes a 2 hour nap works wonders. At the same time, they know they don't have to push so hard to get there under this format. So maybe they are more imclined to drive 4 or 5 hours, stop, take a short nap, drive 4 or 5 more, then take an 8 or 10 hour break. You could also eliminate the 14 hour clock under this format. If sleeper berth doesn't count against it, then, chances are, you won't use it all each day anyhow. But, that is far less important than the line 2 time.

The once per week limitation for use of the 34 hour restart is ridiculous. Common scenario: A driver takes some time off at home and qualififies for a restart. Two days later the driver's truck breaks down and he spends two days in a hotel, resting and watching TV. Under your rules, that would not qualify as a reset so the driver is forced to take an unnecessary and wasteful reset later hitting his income. Rest is rest, why this once a week restriction? It's ludicrous.

The fmcsa is joke!! The eld Mandate is completely ridiculous .. where are all the regulations for 4 wheelers? There thousands more of them on the road and a lot have less driving experience than a long time trucker, but they can drive coast to coast without any kind of consequence.. It's all about revenue for the corrupt u.s. Government, it has nothing to do with people's safety. It's time to fight back and tell them NO!!!

What steps are being taken to keep tired 4-wheelers from driving? People talk about how they drove 16, 18, 20 hpurs straight! What about rules for training people to drive a large RV or pull a camper? Why are these HOS for the number of hours truckers drive yet they're paid BY THE MILE! You also need to work with the trucking companies to pay by the hour...

What are first daughter driving truck the only thing I've ever used was electronic logs, what my Qualcomm broke I was forced to use paper logs. This upset me for about 15 seconds when I thought that it was going to be more work when in all actuality it's no more work than running the Qualcomm. What I did find out was running paper logs I could do more miles in a day with less fatigue on paper than I ever could on the electronic logs. The main reason for this is on electronic logs you are constantly racing the clock and you are always in a rush which leads to fatigue and carelessness and those two issues combined can be deadly. removing the two periods of 1 to 5 in the 34 hour reset was probably the smartest thing on earth because some of us like to make a paycheck. We can't all lounge around mooching off everyone's tax dollars and not doing any work at all like you government employees do. The more rules the more red tape in the more BS the trucking industry has to deal with the more quality drivers will leave and the more reckless foreigners you will get and the more carnage on the roadways you will see. The entire country needs a massive deregulation on every single aspect of life and work that you can think of. The trucking industry is one of them that needs a massive deregulation!

It’s important that we continue studying the impact of fatigue on commercial drivers and public safety to make our regulations even more effective. But this we know right now: suspending the current Hours-of-Service safety rules will expose families and drivers to greater risk every time they're on the road.

The fmcsa should reinstate the line 1 where it would stop the 14 hr clock, back in 2003

Having driven all my life, this 58 year old says this; let your opinion be your opinion. In my early years I have driven 48 hours without sleep and never had any incidents. I never could use any stimulants other than coffee since it made the recovery time longer. I still can make 16 hour runs an would continue except, I have reached my destination. Stay out of it. Sleepy driving accidents are as avoidable as dui accidents.Some people will always be a problem. No law has ever stopped any bad behavior much less criminals. So please, keep your opinion out of it, especially when you are a government employee. Thanks

To John G. I have been driving Tractor Trailers for 20 years. Fifteen of which has been Gasoline Tankers. You are a large part of the problem in the industry. We all continue to be under paid and over worked. You think that because you have driven 48 straight hours and 16 hour runs, thats normal? I want you off the road. There is a great demand for truck drivers and a greater demand for gasoline tanker drivers, but there's a reason Motor Carrier's can't find drivers. Here is what they offer. All the nights, weekends, holidays you can work. Time away from your family, no personal life and under paid. Do every one a favor. Smarten up, get your head out of your ass. Until Motor Carriers realize that alert, safe, well paid and compensated drivers are the way to increase productivity, The trucking industry will continue to be the joke it is. Oh yeah, one more thing. Gasoline Tanker Motor Carrier's are going to Tractor Trailer Driving Schools to attempt to find drivers. Drivers that have never driven a truck weighing 50 + tons before. I do not want my family on the roads with you or the trainees from schools. Jay NH

OK so as a driver I have to say this will be good having a time period of 2 days with the hrs of 1 to 5 that's longer than 34 hrs sitting this long makes me feel even more tired the human body is only suppost to have 8 hrs of sleep anything over 8 hrs makes u tired ....now anyone with commen sence knows when u get tired pull over and sleep ...I know a lot push it and then accidents happen but the same happens with 4 wheelers so why don't the have rules and regulations ? The 1/2 break is just dumb now the real problem with the hos is the 14 hr clock why is it that when I'm in the sleeper or off duty stuck at a customers am I loosing my day when I'm off duty I'm off duty I shouldn't be loosing my time ....this 14 hr clock also makes a safe driver a dangerous driver everyone races the clock .....and its not all driver fatigue that's couses crashes ...let's stop blaming truck driver for everything and always making them at fault 4 wheelers are a dig couse in truck crashes the way they drive around them and yet nothing is done about it hell iv even been cut off by law enforcement and break checked by them ....im with the other guy on here I have a clean record as well and I have grown to hate this industry my self always being lied to treated like crap by everyone controlled told when I can sleep and when I can drive the money sucks anymore and dot and the company always find a way to make every hang your fault ....so I'm out to time to find a different career screw driving a truck

I think the DASHCAM more realistic as the legal norms, We should think more for truckers

I'm a trucker that was a student of C. R. ENGLAND. But I got all my help from a 33 year truck driver, who is my boyfriend. I finally got the year I needed to transfer to his company. Now we drive as a team. I have been driving commercially now 3 years. I haven't hit anything but a curb once in a while. I can back that trailer up. But I have to say that all the rules and regulations are getting ridiculous.

Requiring two concurrent sleep periods at a specific clock time with an unbroken off duty/sleeper berth time, then saying it can only be done once every 7 days sounds like a good idea unless you are one of those many people who have a body rhythm that is "3rd shift" and prefer to drive during that time of day and sleep during the day. I used to be somewhat like that, but over the years my sleep pattens changed. Restricting the 34 hour restart to once a week is a good idea in theory, but in practice, the two ideas together cause problems for some drivers. If I can stop at 3 in the afternoon and stay off the road for 34 hours, I am ready to drive at 1 am the second morning. If I leave when I am refreshed at 1AM so I can get past city traffic before rush hour, I am in violation and lose my restart. If I wait until 5 AM, I will hit rush hour traffic in this example. For a driver who drives all night and sleeps during the day, this makes it impossible to ever get a 34 hour reset because of the rigid time requirements that do not take into account circadian rhythms that are not the same as "normal" people.

Trucks are no different than cars, the more on the road, the more accidents. It really angers me and other drivers when rules are put into effect that are ineffective and hurt our families. The 1/2 break is the most useless rule and it in fact makes me tired! I work nights, when the electronic log forces me to take this break, I have to sit in the dark. It slows my metabolism and makes me tire. On top of all this, I drive Hazmat and get paid by the hour. On this 1/2 hour break, I do not get paid, yet rules require me to be near my load! That sounds like I should get paid. There are some real problems with this rule and I really wish you would get input from the drivers themselves. Not all of us are bad.

What this article doesn't explain is were these drivers in compliance with the current HOS rules? Too often calls for stricter HOS rules cite crashes when the drivers are not in compliance of the current rules. FMCSA should find ways to deter drivers from being out of compliance instead of making compliance more difficult with stricter HOS rules.

Why not a $2.50 per mile minimum for the driver to help keep drivers safe and the general public protected. This way drivers can start paying what they owe to banks, insurance companies, ect. The general public will never notice a difference in prices if some of the money for this is simply removed from the DOT budget.

I think the 34 hour restart should be based on the time zone where it was used. The officers are smart enough to do the math. While I log on Mountain time when I am on the east coast a reset puts me into rush hour traffic. If I could use the Eastern time zone for the reset I could be in front of rush hour and save myself considerable grief and take a larger vehicle out of the large traffic volumes.

Many commenters here point out that passenger cars cause a significant majority of crashes involving trucks, and they want FMCSA to do something about cars. But FMCSA is not legally allowed to deal with cars; that's the job of a different USDOT branch, NHTSA.

In this posting, it is stated that about 3,900 people die each year in collisions involving trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there have been more than 29,000 fatal crashes every year for the last decade, considering some of those are multi fatality, you're looking at more than six times the number of deaths in accidents that don't involve trucks. But yet there only seems to be a concern for the 3,900. It seems that the only solution to get deaths to zero, which one could assume is the goal, is to rid the roads completely of trucks. It seems you're going to do that by ridding it of drivers. As a driver, I've grown to despise this industry, as do many of my coworkers. The companies involved are deceitful, and corrupt. They steal time, they steal wages, and try to pass the buck of any shortcomings, as regulations now are, on to the drivers. What other industry works it s people fourteen hours a day? And without overtime compensation?! You're succedding on one count, this driver and my seven year clean mvr is getting out as soon as possible, and doing something else. I do have to wonder though, with trucks being the red blood cells of the American economy, what's this nation going to do when there are no more?

I wrote a long post in reply to this and then deleted it. Why? Because it doesn't matter and the DOT doesn't care.

As an ex-driver and now Safety person I do not understand all the drivers and carriers argument of the hours of service changing. Yes FMCSA added a 34 hour restart, 11 hours driving and a 14 hour work day back in 2003. Two of these were a plus to the industry (1 more hour of driving and a restart of the 70 hour rule). The 14 hour rule could be seen as more restricting as it was now from the time you started you day not just line 3 and 4 as the 15 hour rule was. However, I think most would agree it is safer. In 2013 FMCSA made the restart require two periods of 1 am to 5 am, here is the BAD change everyone is yelling about. Now I do not understand this BAD change. Is a driver required to take a restart once the reach 70 hours? NO is a driver every required to take a restart? NO can a driver and a company keep a recap like they did before 2003 and keep on working without ever taking a restart? YES This is an average of 8.75 hours a day every day of the year. So please understand there was not a BIG BAD CHANGE made by FMCSA that has made it so you cannot make a living or made it unsafe for you or made it so you have to drive in rush hour. You can and always have been able to keep running the hours of day you wish up to a total work week of 70 hours in 8 consecutive days. As for those that say FMCSA should regulate hourly pay for drivers understand FMCSA does not regulate pay that would the Labor Department if you going to try and argue you point of better pay and how the administrator or FMCSA is in the pocket of the big company understand what part of government does what first. It makes you and the great industry we all work in look bad when we don’t.

One area of HOS rules to change is the "short haul provision", which basically allows a driver who begins and end their shift at the same location to work a 12on/12off schedule WITH NO RESET PERIOD AND NO REQUIREMENT TO KEEP A LOGBOOK ! Eliminating this will ameliorate many of the problems associated with fatigue. Most crashes are caused by local & regional drivers, in day cabs, who are "covered under the "short haul" provision. Senator Collins is wrong about the 34 hr reset provision and 70 hr workweek, so is the ATA. There is solid, provable science behind the HOS as they stand, and benefit the OTR driver even if they are not so good for the company and its bottom line. The 1/2 hour off duty break is superfluous, and routinely faked. Omitting the short haul provision, USDOT & FMCSA is right with the current HOS rules, and should not yield to pressure to alter them. I am a CDL A (XT) driver, operating since 01/1996. I have worked with my own authority, in the US and Canada, have routinely worked at night, and have made a living at it while observing the HOS, as posted, in their last three forms. Speed limiters and e-logs will prove ineffective as they indirectly place the blame of non-compliance on the driver as opposed to the owners/lessors and their demands for ever growing profits.

Ms Ferro seems to be missing the point of the HOS regulations. The HOS regulations give drivers the opportunity to get adequate rest. Whether a driver actually utilizes this opportunity is up to him/her and no amount of regulation can actually force one to get adequate rest. Since we've seen an 18 percent increase in large truck crash fatalities since 2009, could one surmise that since 2009 the regulations in place started having a negative effect or would this too be a misuse of information.

Ms Ferro will you please stop making misleading and flat out false statements about fatigued truck drivers. 78% of crashes involving large trucks are caused by the small vehicle. Of the 22% that are the fault of the truck, less than 1% could be blamed on fatigue. Now, I would like to hear your comments on the accident in Villa Rica Georgia on Thursday evening. A Cadillac SUV ran into a semi truck, the two drivers in the truck were killed in the crash. What have you done during your tenure to make small vehical drivers more safe?

Ferro and the FMCSA need to start enforcing the sleep rules they have in place! Cops and DOT officers nationwide are waking up team drivers who are trying to sleep in the sleeper berth, during their 10 hour sleep break. These rogue cops must stop waking up tired truckers who are trying to follow the law. Video proof & legal docs can be found at DontWakeMeUp.org

The need for clear and concise rules that govern behavior surrounding commercial transportation can't be argued. What is often overlooked, however, in articles such as Ms. Ferro's is that crashes and the property damage, injuries and death usually don't happen because there was a lack of regulation. Crashes usually happen because of a mistake in judgment by a person or persons involved. The June 6, 2014 New Jersey crash caused by a WalMart driver didn't happen because there was a lack of good judgment regarding his own behavior. Even though there is an abundance of studies showing that fatigue can have severe detrimental effects on drivers, and that there are abundant regulations that dissuade drivers from driving while fatigued, this driver still decided to ignore the needs of his body for rest. It was not, and is not, a problem with lack of regulation but a human problem that no regulation will entirely fix. Until people see the connection between their decisions and their behavior and the effects of that behavior nothing will change. This includes everyone from drivers, to dispatchers to Presidents and CEO's. Until we all choose to be responsible for our actions nothing changes. Regulations can't do that, they can make it painful after the fact but they can't make people choose to be responsible.

I have read most of the backlash from this post and as a truck driver, a wife, daughter, mother and grandmother I thank you for making my job safer. Next priority should be e-logs and getting every truck on the road governed to no more than 70mph. Mine is governed at 65mph, that is where it was when I bought it and that is where it will stay. Again, I thank you and I support and applaud your efforts.

Since you're such a proponent of mandating YOUR choices onto other companies, I think that YOU should be required to swap out your motor for one of those ACERT CAT's that burn up... since, of course, Werner uses them, we ALL should be required to do so. Get REAL!

Since you're such a proponent of mandating YOUR choices onto other companies, I think that YOU should be required to swap out your motor for one of those ACERT CAT's that burn up... since, of course, Werner uses them, we ALL should be required to do so. Get REAL!

Congress shouldn't listen to someone who has no clue what it is to be a truck driver.

dear Anne Ferro out of all of those truck accidents that you stated.How many of them were the truckers fault? You say that you are for safer highways but I don't think so. You regulators by the hour but yet were paid by the mile. In the trucking industry we don't get paid unless the truck is moving you said so yourself. Why don't you regulate an hourly pay for the truck driver. or Classifieds truck drivers at skilled labor. It seems to me that the FMCSA believe that anyone can drive one of these trucks safely. I would like to see in your research how many of those accidents where it was the truck drivers fault how many of those truck drivers were 1st or 2nd gear drivers? If you classified as a skilled labor and new drivers have to go into an apprenticeship program I bet that's the number of accidents was drastically decrease. But you won't do that because you think the cost would be way too high and corporations have you in their pocket.so there you are putting a price on life because it cost to much you won't do it. How much is one of these peoples lives worth that have died.ask their families it bit him an apprenticeship program would be an appropriate one.right now in 2 weeks somebody can get a CDL and be driving a truck down the highway. if it were an apprenticeship program it would take at least a year maybe two.but again that would cost too much and by not making an apprenticeship program this is farro you are putting out a price on life.

Hey Anne why don't we address that 80% of those crashes were caused by the car involvled. Why do you cite the most extreme cases 106000 lb truck?Triple trailers? DId the truckers survive those wrecks to tel their side? Did they have a heart attack or something that incapacitated them prior to the wreck? Do you know? Lot of fear mongering here Anne and I for one as a 19 year veteran of this industry do not appreciate it. We know what goes on out here and we also know the way the HOS is set up is one of the root causes of driver fatigue. You haven't given any leeway towards common sense thinking. Makes sense since you are just a suit who might know the workings of the industry from your perspective but when you get to where the rubber meets the road you know nothing.


Do you have proven statistics showing that the number of accidents have been reduced since the hours of service rule changes? If so, and the number of accidents have been dramatically reduced then it should be easy for congress to decide what is best for our highways. But if the results show no changes in frequency or severity of accidents then perhaps the changes should be put on hold until further review. These rules are hurting our economy in other ways.

The most amount of sleep that I ever got when I was tired over the 30 years that I drove semis (1979-2009) was the original 11/14 HOS rule revision when the split sleeper break was still legal. With the original split sleeper break I could work all day making deliveries in Chicago or Detroit then take a nap from 4-7 PM, and miss evening rush hour and all of its less than productive high-stress operating environment, and then I could still get in several hours of road driving after my nap when the highways were less-crowded and feel safe and alert-enough to operate. I would then sleep from 11-6 and do it again the next day. I can't believe that the FMCSA finds it safer to force 10 million truckers tired after working all day to fight it out in afternoon rush hour with all of the tired day-shift workers heading home and all of the soccer moms in huge rush themselves who together clog up our nation's highways every afternoon. The least amount of sleep that I ever got when I was tired was any HOS rule after the split sleeper break was eliminated. I will agree with FMCSA policy that the intent of the restart provision probably was not to increase total possible driving hours above the 70-hour in 8-day limit that had been in-effect under the previous 10/15 rule but this illustrates unintended new policy consequence. Today another unintended consequence of new policy forces more truckers to be on the highway outside of the 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM time frame, which is a tough time of day for those of us on a daytime schedule but a normal time of day for those of us on a night schedule, many of whom have operated safely at that time of night for many years. Could this unintended policy consequence also cause more congestion-type accidents trying to prevent fatigue-type accidents? Many years ago the safety of the trucking industry was judged on a fatalities per 100 million miles operated by the industry standard, and between 1979 and the mid-1990s that standard had improved by 55%. Alas, as our economy and nation has grown, there are approximately twice as many trucks on the highway as in 1979, running more mileage average per truck due to higher speed limits than in 1979 when the entire nation was subject to the 55 mph national speed limit then in-effect. In 1979, the worst year in US history for truck accident fatalities, there were 6,702 fatalities (US-DOT) among the 5.89 million heavy trucks in operation that year, which ran 109 billion miles. By 1995, the sheer number of fatalities had been reduced to 4,903, despite the fact that the number of heavy trucks was up by 16.9% and miles operated was up by 59% due in-part to the increase in speed limit from 55 mph to 65, 70, or even to 75 mph in many States. During the same 1979-1995 time frame passenger car registration increased by 21% and light truck and van registrations more than doubled, Passenger car mileage was up by 34.8% and light truck and van mileage was up by 227%. Also according to this report, the largest single-cause improvement to truck fatalities were the national recessions in 1979-1980, 1981-1983, and 1990-1991, as well as the oil patch recession in 1985-1986. (Data from Trends in Large Truck Crashes, US-DOT HS 808-890, www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809-690.PDF) Fast forward to today and according to FMCSA Secretary Ferro's letter to Congress there are 10.7 million heavy trucks on the road today now five years after the worst recession since the Great Depression, and yet using her own figure of 11 heavy truck fatalities per day, there were 4015 truck accident fatalities in 2013. If the mileage operated per registered heavy truck was the same as in 1995, and there has been a 55.5% increase in heavy truck registrations since 1995, or an 81.6% increase since 1979. (I would argue that due to State speed limit increases since 1995 that individual vehicle miles would have increased by at least 15-20% since 1995 too). So sheer heavy truck fatalities are down from 6,702 in 1979 to 4,015 today despite an 81.6% increase in the number of registered heavy trucks and a per-registered vehicle mileage increase of approximately 72-75% over the same period. Secretary Ferro fails in her alarmist assessment to Congress to mention the fact that the largest single cause decrease in trucking industry sheer fatalities is national recession, and even after the alleged 13% increase in heavy truck fatalities between 2009 and 2013, due entirely to economic recovery since 2009, the industry as a whole today is operating 81.6% more trucks than in 1979, 284% more mileage than in 1979*, at a 40% reduction in sheer fatalities since 1979. and a 79% reduction in the key fatalities per hundred million miles traveled statistic previously used by the US-DOT to measure the industry's safety by. * Including an estimated 15% increase in total heavy truck vehicle miles traveled since 1995. It sounds to me like Secretary Ferro should be profuse in her appreciation for a job well done by the industry in improving safety rather than trying to alarm anyone as there is no problem to report when we use a full statistical set rather than an unfair cherry-picked statistic without stating what context it came from and why sheer trucking industry fatalities are down during recessions. It also sounds to me that perhaps Secretary Ferro is trying to justify her budget and/or a budgetary increase by using a cheery-picked statistic that shows something other than the truth about heavy truck safety, and I also have to wonder by how much Secretary Ferro's cherry-picked irresponsible statistic has inflamed motorist tensions and the incidence of car on truck road rage too?

Yanking the split sleeper berth provision was the most dangerous regulation change the feds ever made.

Jim Johnston is full of it and will do anything or say anything to get publicity so OOIDA can make more money. I can believe that the trucking industry as a whole buys their load of crap as it's simple mob mentality. OOIDA advocates they exist to protect the rights of truckers but I personally believe they are more concerned with the money they make on selling insurance as well as other services they offer. I read your blog post as you know and did not deduct that you had a “extreme bias against the trucking industry and truckers in general”. In fact if anything you have their best interest in mind and are walking a balance beam to protect the public which must come first. Sure the HOS regulations need to be tweaked but it's close to being perfect. OOIDA is not competent nor qualified enough to do anything more than they do which is selling insurance policies and preaching their same old line of pseudo evangelism which my industry has swallowed hook line and sinker and plugging up our system with stuff like this latest stunt which is only a ploy for more popularity since the issue at hand is popular. I think OOIDA is not qualified to pass judgement on anything/anyone concerning HOS due to the amount of data and research that has had to take place to get us where we are today. They clearly do not comprehend the extent of this or they would take a more proactive approach to this and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I was shocked to read his statement to Anthony Foxx. Hang in there and keep doing the great job you are and ignore this latest round of self promotion. Best, Michael Rader WideloadShipping.com m.rader@wideloadshipping.com

Since when can anyone understand a situation until you have been in ones' shoes. In order to due justice to this dept. we need experience talking for us, not a pencil pusher. This industry needs a Jimmy Hoffa back to support the weaklings in it. All I hear here is kiss, kiss!!!!!!!!!

Truckers can be at fault, but what about the cars out there that cause the accidents...who regulates them???? They speed past a truck just to pull in front of them to either slow back down or just to get off the interstate!!!! My husband witnessed just this last week (hes a trucker) a mini van came speeding past him and another trucker pulled in front of that trucker to get off the exit...except she clipped the semi and rolled. Of course she blamed the trucker "He to hit me"...my husband stopped to help and was a witness of what really happened. By the way her child in a car seat wasnt even seat belted down so she killed her own child...not the trucker! There are all these rules truckers have to follow, what about the cars???? They screw with truckers all the time. And lets talk about cell phone use, truckers have a stiff fine in found on their phones, but the damn cars out there texting. Our friend driving a truck was going slow due to construction and a car came flying by pulled in front of him and jammed on the breaks....sorry but an 80,000 lb truck cant stop on a dime, he hit the car. We are going to buy a dash cam just to protect our family!!! And by the way, why dont you mention the drivers of cars falling asleep and wrecking truckers. Dont state half the story, MOST accidents involving truckers are due to the family driver! And also how did you get your stuffy office furniture, computers, your home, car, clothes on your back, and the food you eat....from a trucker!!!!!!!! Protect them from the family driver, they are the ones who dont have regulations! I worry about my husband everyday, not because of the hours, but because of cars, take a look at truckers dash cams on you tube. Cars pulling in front of them, cutting them off, trucks wide turns and they cars try to sneak through, not to mention those family drivers that hang out in the blind spots. You need to spend a week in a truckers life to be educated in real life. For every bad trucker theres at least 30 bad car drivers out there!!!!

I salute you. I believe that when you apply for your driver license, the Dept. of Transportation should have a section in the testing to help the family driver understand how he or she needs to share the highway with the truckers. The average family driver doesn't understand the does and don'ts of the highway and how to handle semis with trailers. With our industry of trucking changing so much, I think that the 4 wheelers should have to comply like the truckers, because I have seen individuals driving cars, etc. that were putting makeup on, reading news papers, doing extra curricular actives and of course talking on the phone or texting. Also I believe that every vehicle that is driven should under go yearly inspection just like our trucks, because you wouldn't believe what we see out there. Let's have a fair playing field.

I am afraid that sharing the road with tired truck drivers would be frighting me and my family. I don't believe that Senator Collins cares about individuals and families rights to travel safely. She is a horrible senator.

But we have to share the road with you when your tired, texting, applying your make up, eating your ceral, reading your morning paper....

Ms Ferro I would like to hear your comments on the accident that occurred Thursday evening in Villa Rica Georgia. A Cadillac SUV struck a semi truck and the two drivers in that truck died in the crash. What are you doing about people that drive four wheelers in a reckless manor?

On paper it's all well and good, but the experience I have watching driver's. The more time out of their trucks isn't being used for rest.The game rooms are filled, tv room in truck stop is filled, and you have some drivers polishing their trucks. Where is the sleep coming in? I don't have a TV in my truck as I might be watching instead of sleeping. For the same reason if I have a student driver he may not be sleeping when he needs to. Myself I felt I had more rest when we had the ability of the split sleeper. The 8 hour is fine and 2 more hrs for the split doesn't make sence when that 2 hrs can be off duty, not sleeping Accidents are going to happen especially when drivers of cars and pick up trucks don't have any respect for the large trucks they are running with. They don't know how to merge into traffic and what's worse is no lights on in the rain and fog. They can s mm see so they assume people can also see them You want to make it safer, teach the public to drive in traffic better. To many cars are on interstate highways that are unsafe, auto and driver.

This is just a cover up for the mistake of the 14 hour rule that was implemented years back.Try going back to the 15 hour rule and and watch and see how drivers have more time to relax,eat something that is not in a hurry meal,and would be able to enjoy taking a nap when needded and not be worried about meeting 14 hour time frame.I am a 15 year driver.Theres already weigh stations,spot inspections,electronics logs,and company regulations to help safety procedures.Thank you

Ms. Ferro, While I agree that we need to have rules for safety and to prevent fatigued driving, I feel s lot of fatigued driving to be a result of the new hours of service. As a trucker, I have to weigh the choice of taking a nap or keep driving because I know my 14 hour click IA still ticking. If I work, not drive, for the hours in the morning and then I need to drive 10 hours after that to get to my next appointment, there is no time to take a nap. So therefore, I drive fatigued. At least allow us drivers to stop the 14 hour clock for a hour nap just like you allow it to be stopped for an 8 hour break. Thank you.


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