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Why We Care About Truck Driver Fatigue

Why We Care About Truck Driver Fatigue

Of all the responsibilities we have at the Department of Transportation, none is more important than protecting the lives of the traveling public.  Nowhere do we lose more lives than on our nation’s highways where more than 30,000 of our citizens and loved ones perish each year

As part of our mission to improve highway safety, our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is charged with regulating the number of hours truck drivers may operate to ensure that they are not driving while fatigued.  When we develop those rules, we are required and duty-bound to use the best science available to us. 

Now the vast majority of truckers on our highways behave responsibly and drive well within reasonable limits.  But our rules must protect against those drivers and trucking companies who are tempted to push the limits and put our families and loved ones at risk.  Nearly 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year and driver fatigue is a leading factor.  Tragically, the truck drivers themselves sometimes die driving tired. 

In December of 2011, the FMCSA issued a new rule to stop fatigued driving by making changes to the “hours of service” rules for truck drivers. The rule was complicated, but it basically boiled down to two updated requirements.  One is that drivers take a 30-minute rest break within the first 8 hours of their shift so they can stay alert on the road.  The other updated the use of the 34-hour rest period, known as the “restart”.  In the interest of safety, the 2011 rule restricted drivers to using the restart only once every seven days and it required that the restart period include at least two periods of rest between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Basically, it required that drivers have the opportunity to take a very real rest and catch up on sleep before working another very long week.  The net effect of these changes was to reduce the average maximum week a driver could work from 82 hours to 70 hours.

While most truckers don’t come close to operating this many hours a week, the FMCSA rules were not a solution looking for a problem.   To the contrary, it was brought to our attention as we were developing this rule that a segment of the industry was often operating at the maximum hours allowed.   It was also revealed that some truckers operating under the old rules were adding one full work shift per week. These observations were verified through studies and truck inspections conducted in the field.

Additionally, new research available on the subject demonstrated that long work hours, without sufficient recovery time, lead to reduced sleep and chronic fatigue. That fatigue leads drivers to have slower reaction times and a reduced ability to assess situations quickly.  One of the most dangerous elements of fatigue is how quickly it can sneak up on vehicle operators, be they car drivers or truck drivers.  The research revealed that truck drivers (like most people) often can’t assess their own fatigue levels accurately and are therefore unaware that their performance has degraded.  Too often, fatigued drivers fail to notice that they are drifting between lanes.

FMCSA fulfilled its responsibility to develop a rule based on the best science available, protect the driving public, and ensure the continued flow of commerce.  In fact, the rule was challenged in court by those who felt it was too restrictive and others who felt it wasn’t restrictive enough.  The court found that FMCSA got it right.  The rule still allows FMCSA to grant waivers to companies or industries for compelling reasons on a case-by-case basis.

Now, there are efforts in Congress to suspend the update to the restart provision through a rider that could be included in the final Appropriations bill for the year. I have voiced my strong objection to that rider.  This rider will have the effect of once again allowing a segment of the trucking industry to operate an average of as many as 82 hours per week.  The best science tells us that’s unsafe and will put lives at risk.  Our responsibility to the traveling public requires us to warn Congress of these risks and urge reconsideration.

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Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

Well I start work at 4:30am and work until 7pm I have a 60 min drive to work so I have to be up at 2:30am and leave for work by 3:30 and the same for pm I leave at 7pm and I get home at 8pm so by the time I eat dinner and go to bed it is 9pm only leaving me with 5 and a half hours of sleep. So I feel that my 2 hour round trip should also count towards my driving total hours for the day but that ain't the case. I tried to workout a shorter work schedule but my company won't work with me.

Electronic log book does not stop driver fatigue. There are a few other variables that need to be addressed based on how loads are dispatched. On time deliveries is the problem. I was a Mgr in transportation for over 20 years & have seen the problems.

Driver fatigue can be one of the most dangerous and deadly part of having a truck driver job. It is so important for our truck drivers to be alert while on the road, not only for their safety, but for the safety of others as well.

I agree that the HOS rules are not having the desired effect intended. Personally I only sleep about six hours a night at home but often take a nap during the day if tired. The sleeper berth rule essentially takes away the option of sleeping six hours then driving till tired and taking another berth of one to two hours and continuing on. Since the HOS clock starts when you do your first On-Duty status and ends fourteen hours later, you don't have the option of stopping and taking a nap because you won't be able to complete your eleven hours of drive time. Therefore, you keep driving, even though tired, to make sure you get your drive time in for the day. Okay, on the surface the math says you can do it until you start adding in all the other things you may have to do during the day like tying the load down, tarping the load, fueling etc., then stopping for breaks and meals eats up time also The HOS rules should be amended to allow the fourteen hours to push back if a berth time is taken mid-shift. This would also allow a driver to stop and take some berth time if weather/road conditions are bad or to avoid heavy traffic hours or want to wait out a storm or other event. Again, if held to a fourteen hour schedule, the driver will continue to drive in bad road conditions fight rush hour traffic or whatever in order to make their miles for the day before they run out of time. Circadian rhythms are based on ninety minute intervals. Basically a human sleep pattern is best on ninety minute cycles (1.5, 3, 4.5, 6 hours etc.). I think the old eight hour sleep data is way out dated. As an independent I don't get paid to sit idle and no one is going to pay me to wait like a large company may do. But I will do the right thing if the rules will allow me to. Right now they don't. I used to have an office job where I worked four, ten hour days. I can tell you that is the more fatiguing than driving for eleven hours. The old saying is true, "When you have dug your hole too deep to get out, stop digging." The answer is to fill some of the hole back in so you can get out, take a look around and come up with new plan.

Fatigue is one of the challenges for our truck driver. And as an employer, or anyone who is concerned with them, we have to help our dear drivers on how to deal with it. The huge benefits will not be on them, but to those who are getting their services and earning because of their job.

It doesn't matter what rules you enforce , until all of the trucks are made to go with an electronic logbook you will have those that will carry two sets of logbooks regardless , when you have drivers that will Dr. they're all books show the DOT one sad then get to their destination and present a Nother set no matter what lose you enforce they will go around them how does a semi driver drive from Pensacola Florida at 8 o'clock in the morning all the way to their destination in Louisville Kentucky and be there that same evening to drop that load parked at the dock ramp for that 8 AM the next morning trailer change out and while you the DOT has seen one logbook dandy logbook that they turn in for their pay time is a complete different set that's why every truck on the road weather privately owned or company owned should be by low on electronic logbook

I wish they looked more into "short-haul" drivers. When I worked over the road I never had a problem with fatigue. I'm currently a short-haul driver and my company tries to indirectly push 4, 14 hour days and 1, 16 hour day. And God forbid you don't have time to finish a run, they will try to push you to layover (on a daycab), this puts the driver in a position to where he has to drive fatigued, exceed the speed limits and perform overall in an unsafe manner. Not to mention the little amount of sleep in the 10 hour break, considering the driver has to drive home and back to work. 4 hours of sleep at most. At one point I said I will not drive tired and the response was if I was allowed to call in bc of fatigue then every other driver would want to call in if they are fatigued and they cant allow that. That time I pushed the issue and read them the regulations and the issue was reluctantly solved. But I'm tired of being in a constant battle to stand up for my own safety.

I'm facing a situation as we speak. My company is trying to force me to run during hours I know I cannot safely drive. Basically telling me if I tell them I'm to fatigued to drive they'll write me up and basically put my job on the line. My awake hours are 0300-2100.. I've worked shift work for the past 20 years and just can't do the nights anymore.

There are two major issues in this industry that pertain to highway safety. I started my driving career in 1976, over the years up until 2014 when I quit driving, there have been many changes that have done nothing to promote truck safety. The biggest reason I quit was the 14hr rule. As my age increased I found a need to take more breaks to feel safe on the road. All of a sudden I was forced to accomplish my days work with in a 14hr window. Previous to that I had a 24hr window to work with. Now when I was fatigued I had to keep going so I could accomplish my days work in 14hrs. Being forced into this situation was the biggest reason for me to sell my truck and find other work. The second issue is the poor training programs set into place by the large trucking companies. As the years increased in my driving career, the quality of truck drivers coming out of truck driver mills has diminished. There is no way some one with no experience at all in a large vehicle is ready to drive alone after a few weeks of training. In order to improve safety, more training is needed before drivers are put on the road. In some European countries in order to get a license to operate a semi, you first need to drive accident free in a smaller truck for a period of time. The driver can upgrade his license as the driver's experience increases. I also know that as much as the safety advocates want to punish the truck driver for all the safety issues, there lies a much larger issue with large trucking companies putting inexperienced drivers into truck seats. As far as I can see this will never change as long as politicians are swayed by the money they receive from the large trucking companies trying to promote legislation that benefits the large trucking companies and increases their profit margins in disregard for safety. Who would fly in an airplane if they knew the pilot had never even been in a plane 2 months previous.

one company that pushes/permitts drives to run over hos is the us postal service think the goverment should stop making rules for others they wont follow

One of the single biggest problems with the current hours of service regulations are lack of distinctions between different types of trucking and different sectors of the transportation industry. While there are a great number of truck drivers on the roads today that represent the traditional "long haul" trucker model, there are also a great many number who return home daily and work a more restricted schedule. They are not always reflected in the hours of service regulations. The company I work for has drivers that haul 3 or 4 short loads per day (usually around 250 miles of driving), load their own trucks, and return home every single day to sleep in their own bed. The use 30 minute break in our line of work has been little more than an annoyance and is actually causing more fatigue by increasing the overall length of the work day. Our drivers are in and out of the truck at minimum 8 times per day and rarely drive for more than one hour at a time, however, they still must abide by the same rules that govern drivers who may never leave the vehicle except to use the restroom and fuel. There should be a distinction between traditional long haul over-the-road truck drivers who are behind the wheel for 10+ hours daily and local delivery drivers who may only be physically driving the vehicle for 3-4 hours per day. The 30 minute break has turned a 12 hour day into a 12.5 hour day, which means they spend more time at work and less time at home resting. Drivers who start and end their day at the same location every day should be afforded the same amount of available hours to work (14) as their OTR counterparts, but be relieved an extended workday to satisfy a regulation not designed for their half of the industry. The current "air-mile" rules restrict their available hours and the 30 minute break increases them. The fact of the matter is that Hours of Service regulations are necessary for the purpose of safer highways, but they rarely seem constructed with that thought in mind. If we are truly concerned about safety alone, there should be much more stringent requirements for everyone (not just CDL holders) to obtain and retain a regular adult license. Any attempt to make our entire road and highway system safer should be a multi-faceted approach that addresses all vehicles, not just those used in commerce.

Your Focus is on the wrong segment of transportation, trucking is the safest segment of earth bound transportation you hinder progress and productivity by over regulating the trucking industry and spend billions of dollars of tax payers dollars wastefully, get out of the way and let America grow.

Having driven trucks for over 48 years I can echo the thoughts of most of my contemporaries. The industry has been able to serve the country for decades and only after the advent of social media did the nanny do gooders find support for government interference where none was needed. Regulating driving hours and responding to events that indicate a significant problem is what government should do. But the creation of beaurocratic agencies whose budgets almost exceed the gdp of the industry they regulate! The worst thing done was the elimination of the split sleeper option. The ability to determine when we rest is not well served by a lot of ink on paper. It is determined by our bodies. When we are forced to continue working or driving or lose those production hours to regulations, we drive tired. The current reset rules also interfere with our ability to provide service to shippers and receivers with one shift operations etc. Going back to the previous reset rules of reseting after any 34 consectutive hours off duty is more sensible. Let the drivers decide how to work!

An exemption for the 1-5AM periods should have been put in place for teams. This tells us that a complete analysis of the regulation wasn't performed. A team driver who is acclimated to being awake and driving at night finds it hard to flip his schedule. To simplify, try sleeping on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon then answer the bell on Monday morning.

34 Hour Restart is a problem. 87.5 hours of driving in 8 days over 192 hours; Academically speaking, there are 192 hours in 8 days. After working the 70 hours of work. Drivers, then use the 34 hour restart. The Text Book approach method shows total number of hours allowed to work during an 8 day period can add up to more than 70 hours & more than 82 hours. Here's how: 11 (hours driving) + .5 (8 hour rule rest break) + 10 (hours sleeper berth) =21.5 hours, per each work unit x 6 (days) = 69 total work hours covered during 129 hours. + 34 hour restart, = equals 163 hours. Resuming your 70 hour work week: Whereas, 11 (hours driving) +.5 (8 hour rule rest break) + 10 (hours in sleeper berth) = total hours in a day= 21.5 hour period. (So far, we're at 184.5 hours into the 8 day/192 log book week.) Leaving a remainder of 7.5 hours left to legally drive over this period of 8 days or 192 hours= 87.5 hours total driving hours. (approx) gruesome driving week. (cough, cough...of course you'll need to log a :15 min. vehicle inspections and/or :15min fuel stops which will decrease your 87.5 hours of driving. Subjective interpretations will show this number to be 82 hours of driving. However, this number does not take into account the larger fuels available on some semi trucks. Whereas, the need to fuel is less. Or the difference between long haul Vs. short haul operation. Where, long haul may have less pre/post trip inspection than a short haul operation whom will have several pre/post trip inspections over a single day. Where their accumlative affect will be less insp & fuel stops equals more hours driving behind the wheel. The 87.5 hours of driving removes the 15 min vehicle insp to solely look at the maximum hours of driving. About a decade ago, the 34 hour restart came into affect. Before this time, 8 days of driving was a 70 hours of driving over 8 days no creative math. Vs. Today, 87.5 hours of driving. (recent study) Mental illness among long haul drivers is an issue. With these new hours of service were saying remain isolated and work greater hours...the following is from a recent study on long haul truck drivers: There are over 3 million truck drivers employed in the commercial transportation and material moving occupations, one of the largest occupational groups in the United States. Workers in this large and growing occupational segment are at risk for a range of occupational health-induced conditions, including mental health and psychiatric disorders due to high occupational stress, low access and use of health care, and limited social support. The purpose of this study was to explore male truck drivers' mental health risks and associated comorbidities, using a cross-sectional and quantitative design. Data were collected from a random sample of 316 male truckers between the ages of 23 and 76 at a large truck stop located within a 100-mile radius of Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, using a self-administered 82-item questionnaire. Surveyed truckers were found to have significant issues affecting their mental health, such as loneliness (27.9%), depression (26.9%), chronic sleep disturbances (20.6%), anxiety (14.5%), and other emotional problems (13%) (2012 Jul;33(7):436-44. doi: 10.3109/01612840.2012.665156. Trucking organization and mental health disorders of truck drivers. Authors: Shattell M1, Apostolopoulos Y, Collins C, Sönmez S, Fehrenbacher C.). Where is the drivers time off in this research...using the Models one will view only the restart period will allow for Time Off from work...87.5 hours of driving and this model shows the driver has literally just begun his driving week...refreshed & revitalized.

I understand why truck drivers are scrutinized so closely, but why are 4 wheelers not held responsible for their reckless driving, cutting truck drivers off so that they are put in dangerous situations. I'm a school bus driver not a trucker but have a son who is. I see all kinds of bad driving by 4 wheelers and motorcycles involving truckers and school buses and the pro drivers always appear to get the bad rap and the 4 wheelers and motorcycles are not held responsible for their bad driving. Why is that?

My husband is a truck driver of 33 years and knows his limits. He stops when he is too tired to drive. Not only truckers drive fatigued...our 20 year old son fell asleep at the wheel and died in a fiery crash. It was a blessing that no one was with him and no other vehicles were involved. It can happen to anyone at anytime. Let's all be safe and courteous on the road.

I am glad that the hos restart is being changed to a more realistic and sane reset. I think that most drivers are safe and want to drive on safe roads. With the elogs, limits on the reset and not being able to stop their work clock, the regulators have made roads less safe. The restrictions on the 34 hour restart never accomplished it's stated goal of making roads safer or helping drivers to be less fatigued. What it did do was to restrict driver pay and make it more difficult for carriers and drivers to meet their delivery schedules. Rule makers like to take a cookie cutter approach to their rule making. What these people fail to realize is that every individual has a different body clock. The rules, as written, actually do more harm than good with their approach. One change that needs to be made are the restrictions on whether drivers can stop their work clock, once started. This causes drivers to often drive while tired rather than allowing them to take a rest break. If they stop to rest, they lose income due to the current restrictions. Until recent years, drivers could stop their clock to take a rest break without impacting their income. Most drivers will stop and rest when they get tired. But, the current restrictions discourage drivers from taking a rest break. Another problem I have seen are with the elog mandate. There is absolutely NO legitimate reason why any carrier should be forced to spend money on an electronic log which does no more than paper. There is no proof that elogs make roads safer, which was one of the reasons this legislation was pushed through in the middle of the night as an add on to the highway bill that everyone did want. It failed when it had to stand on it's own. Anything electronic is subject to failure. My suggestion is to eliminate the hos completely. I don't think roads would be any less safe than today. In fact, roads might be more safe without the constant ticking of the hos clock. It would be great to test my theory. I would like to see congress place restrictions on any new rules where the fmcsa will need to have a legitimate third party study performed before any new rules may be implemented. Studies should be performed with a large diversified population to give a fair assessment of the proposed rules. To my knowledge, this has never been done with any of the rules. There is no proof that elogs have made roads safer. In fact, the opposite may be true, based upon many drivers to whom I have spoken. Trucking has way too many rules. It seems like every time a new person comes into the fmcsa, the first thing they want to do is start making up more rules. If something is working I see no need to make changes. Every time new rules come into play, it costs the trucking industry millions, if not billions of dollars in compliance costs. I look forward to the day when we require the fmcsa to prove that any proposed new rules are necessary before they may be implemented. Any new rules should be tested in the field to see if they will work or achieve the stated goals. It is one thing to use a computer model to state your case, it may be something different in a real life situation. There should be a cost/benefit to any rule making. There will be an immediate cost/benefit of changing the 34 hour reset where drivers may do a reset anytime they choose or need to take a rest. I would like to extend my thanks to those in congress who pushed for this change to the reset rules. It makes good sense.

I think we are all for the safety of the traveling public. The only problem is there are many different types of driving disciplines out there. This rule has also had a negative impact on driver's as well. The rule took away the ability for a driver to stop and rest when he actually needs it. It isn't a one size fits all industry. There are days when a long haul driver may need to stop and sleep for a couple of hours early in their shift or even a couple of times if they need it. Why not let the specific individual choose when they need to take a break as long as they take one. Rules being made by people that have never even done this job for a living (not just a test period), have no idea what it's like to live that life. Maybe taking that 30 minutes in the first eight hours may mean the difference in a driver being able to deliver and not have to spend an extra day someplace or miss the opportunity for a load to try and get home. I am a safety director and nothing is more important to me than to get our people out and back safely. My family travel these roads as do you and I. This particular rule is one of the most ineffective in trying to accomplish an end goal just to satisfy certain groups of people, except the people we expect to go out and do the job. All we are going to accomplish is depleting the ranks of an already desperate industry trying to find people to move our goods around the cities and states. We are going to regulate ourselves in to complete ruin and a lot of empty seats and a lot of freight that needs to be moved. There has to be a better way, so let's try to find that before we just continue to disrupt peoples way of earning a living. Go out and do their job for a year and then try to justify writing this poorly written rule and expect people to try and make a decent living under it. The transportation industry as a whole is grossly under paid, and the big long haul companies are the only ones getting rich. It certainly isn't the truck driver that just wants to get home and see their family. Heaven knows I certainly don't want my kids to follow in my foot steps.

Your point is well taken however, the way the rules for the restart are right now prohibit a restart even if the driver is down for a full restart during the middle of the work week. The old way was not perfect, but also allows a restart if the driver needs one due to unplanned down times.

wow, who can work 82-hours per week without being tired? there is an truck accident blocking the freeways almost everyday in los angeles. it is a shame to see people driven to work beyond a safe capacity which means less safety for us all.

There is one critical flaw to the 34 hour reset rule that is now in place that MUST be looked at again! That being the point that the FMCSA, in all it’s grandeur and glory, has strongly overlooked, and at the same time negatively affected a huge number of drivers in the industry. That being, that with the requirement that during the reset, the driver MUST be stopped for 2 sections of 1 AM to 5 AM, and then, they can begin traveling again. The part that is a critical flaw is, not all drivers run Only during daylight periods. We have a huge number of drivers that prefer to run during evening hours for the soul sake that there is far less traffic on the roadways during the night, making it far safer to get from point A to point B, and that alone keeps truckers from being cut off by aggressive, and careless drivers. If you were to leave the 34 hour reset the way it was Prior to 2011, then all drivers would still be able to get in a full 34 hour reset, while not interfering with their circadian rhythm. There are those in the FMCSA and other so-called “Safety” advocates that will tout that what they are doing, is working toward improving the safety and health of today’s drivers. Well, I cannot, for the life of me, see where this rule is improving safety, when it is adversely putting the health of those night drivers at risk, because they now have to either change their “body clocks” in order to meet delivery deadlines, or they have to sit an addition 12 hours, in order to stay in rhythm and drive the way they have adjusted to. Personally, I hope that Congress DOES suspend that provision, or at least order a reversion back to the 34 hour reset rule to it’s original requirement, whether you object to that, or not. One thing I would like to see, is that Congress institute a requirement that anyone who is installed in any official position in the FMCSA, have a minimum of no less than 10 years experience Driving trucks for a living, along with people who have been in the industry long enough to fully understand the issues that drivers face every day, and every time a new rule or “Safety” regulation comes down the pipe. Hal Kiah North American Trucking Alerts

the people seem to look harshly at the truck drivers, what about that business traveler that had to beat the 9:00 meeting 2.5 hrs away have the proverbial 2 martini lunch back to the meeting until 4:30 then takes client to dinner till 7:00-7:30 now has to drive 2.5 hrs home lets look at the math up getting ready for work before 6:30 gets home 10:00 looks like 15-15.5 hrs but the truck driver has to stop at 14 lets look at the people that forget to check their vehicles that the lights do not work, may be a spot inspection for turn signals on the highway for the cars, not just the trucks

I think the current new rule should stay. 70 hours in 8 days is more than enough time to earn money. Adding more hours will only make our roads unsafe. HOwever, I disagree that the 34 hour restart should consist of certain hours. 34 hours is 34 hours and those time should not be mandated. Many drivers who have worked graveyards for years are affected by this change and it hits their pocket book. It has not positive effects on their sleeping patterns or fatigue issues.

I am a truck driver. It is extremely tiring to drive a big rig. It makes it even more stressful because of the way truck drivers are paid. I'm paid by the ton, so I run as many loads as possible sometimes working over 14 hours locally. Greed is what runs the trucking industry. Truckers need paid by the hour, not the mile, ton or load.

I feel that most drivers (myself included) ARE able to determine when they are too fatigues to safely operate. I also feel that FMCSA makes recommendations based on science, and a position of authority, with no consideration from the law abiding citizens perfoming commercial transit on our highways every day. The new rules force drivers to operate during peak traffic periods, with no choice to stop and rest or nap during high traffic periods, lest they lose those hours from their work day. When the ATA requested that drivers be allowed to take a break if needed and not have the time deducted from the 14 hour daily allowance of consecutive hours...the Department took it upon themselves to DICTATE that a break should be REQUIRED, and not allow the 14 hour clock to stop. That has effectively reduced a driver's daily workday by 30 minutes...meaning we now have a 13.5 hour clock to work against. This paired with EOBRs has made for UNSAFE conditions both on the road, AND in the truckstops that don't have enough parking to house all of the trucks that "park" at night now. These drivers cut their hours so close to maximize their income, that when they come into a truck stop they only have moments left to park before they go into violation. I can't count the number of times i have almost had my truck hit by a pressured driver in a truck stop....not to mention almost being hit while walking across the parking lot on foot because these drivers come into and through the lot at higher rates of speed. I also feel that if such strict and forced regulations are being placed on commercial drivers, the general motoring publuc should have to share in the burdens of safety, and loss of liberties as well. No linger shoyld people be allowed to drive coast to coast non-stop to attend family functions and the like, and effect MY safety as a driver who NEEDS to be on the highway at that time. Also, with most accidents and icidents i see and hear being caused by speeding cars, and seeing roughly 90 percent of cars exceeding speed limits and CREATING unsafe conditions on what is effectively my workplace, why is this being allowed?? If there werr better SPEED enforcement of CARS on the highways, you would eliminate far more accidents than focusing on creating even MORE restrictions on commercial drivers. If anyone from FMCSA wants to hear suggestions or spend time seeing what's REALLY happening in our roadways, they are more than welcomed to join me in the truck and i will show them, AND explain why these cars need to be scrutinized rather than the professional drivers on the roads. Thank you....

It's very disappointing that Mr. Fox has chosen in this propaganda piece to completely ignore the compelling argument against the logic and safety of having thousands of trucks departing truckstops across the U.S. to join the motoring public, that the DOT is mandated to protect, in the morning rush hour.

Are you kidding me? Get away from your desk and spend two weeks in a truck. You can use bad science all you want but it still doesn't change the real facts.

How bout you start changing some driving rules for the private sector and stop blaming everything on commercial drivers. How bout educating the private sector about how they may be able to help avoid car-truck accidents by not cutting in front, causing in blind spots, and so on.

If there were a segment of the trucking community driving 82 hours in a week, why didn't FMCSA change the rules for that segment instead of penalizing the entire industry?

As posted a minority of "professional" drivers operated close to the maximum hours. The 168 hour rule and the 1am to 5am periods do not enhance the quality of sleep except those who do not work 3rd shift. This I'm sure can be supported by medical studies. Yes truck driving equates to long periods of driving, longer than I'd venture to say 95% of the motoring public when a 4 hour trip is by some considered a long drive, 8 hours behind the wheel is crazy to them. 11 hours is pure lunacy, to those that barely spend 2 hours per day commuting and running errands (actually driving). To ensure a safer highway, truckers and industry groups suggest a trident approach. 1) Education of non-trucking motorist. 80,000 pounds of anything takes time and space to maneuver, you (the DOT) must ensure that all drivers are educated and reminded of the space larger vehicles require. 2) improve driver training by regulations that set higher standards on the CDL schools student curriculum. Ask any driver in the industry if schools are adequately preparing today's truck drivers you'll be surprised to find this is one area they agree on, no the schools don't adequately prepare drivers. Raise the standards. 3) enforcement, statistical evidence suggest the majority of large vs small vehicle accidents are the result of the smaller car, example: cutting across three or more lanes of traffic, rushing down an on ramp only to slam on the breaks in front of a larger vehicle. These practices must be stopped and can be stopped by encouraging our law enforcement to cite the drivers for aggressive or some times reckless driving as they race to go nowhere except to be first to the traffic jam.

You are wrong. The way the HOS is set now it cause drivers to be more fatigued less time at home which is resting. It is causing problems that the FMCSA refuses to see and address.

Do you know how unrealistic it is for everything to so perfectly align as to allow 70 hours of work plus a 34 hour reset plus another 14 hours of work in a week, let alone the odds of it being able to happen more than once in a year. This is much ado about nothing. If you find a driver capable of doing the implausible you need to do a deep inspection of his logs, interviewing shippers and receivers to see if he/she really was only there for 15 minutes.

Why is it that drivers can't take more than one 34 hour reset per week? Do you think they will get too much rest? Why is it necessary to have our reset pass the hours of 1 - 5 in what time zone? What difference would it make, most of us work so many different hours that the lunar cycle really does not effect us like others.

I have been involved in fleet safety since 1970. I certainly understand the merits of the hours of service regulations and the attempt to make our highways safer. Unfortunately, neither the government, nor the motor carrier can dictate that a driver get rest during their "off-duty" time. The driver's family may have planned a special event during (i.e. a birthday party, a day at the amusement park, etc) during their "off duty" time. The driver may have work to do around their home (i.e. lawn work, gardening, painting, etc) which may be relaxation time for the driver but does not add to their sleep time. Until such time as an effective means to monitor a driver's activities during off duty time is achieved, the hours of service regulations will never eliminate driver fatigue. Constant changes/modifications to the hours of service regulations becomes confusing and costly to those who sincerely wish to comply. While I applaud the efforts of the FMCSA to reduce fatigue related accidents, I believe the efforts will not be successful for the reasons noted above.

Agreed . More hours and less sleep makes for dangerous highways . Plus it shortens drivers lives by be put into a fatigued state all too frequently .

I hope the rider passes. But I'm not holding my breath.

What segment of the industry was often operating at the maximum hours allowed?

There is one critical flaw to the 34 hour reset rule that is now in place that MUST be looked at again! That being the point that the FMCSA, in all it's granduer and glory, has strongly overlooked, and at the same time negatively affected a huge number of drivers in the industry. That being, that with the requirement that during the reset, the driver MUST be stopped for 2 setions of 1 AM to 5 AM, and Then, they can begin traveling again. The part that is a critical flaw, is, not all drivers run Only during daylight periods. We have a huge number of drivers that prefer to run during evening hours for the souls sake that there is far less traffic on the roadways during the night, making it far safer to get from point A to point B, and that alone keeps truckers from being cut off by aggressive, and careless drivers. If you were to leave the 34 hour reset the way it was Prior to 2011, then all drivers would still be able to get in a full 34 hour reset, while not interfering with their Circadium rythm. There are those in the FMCSA and other so-called "Safety" advocates that will tout that what they are doing, is working toward improving the safety and health of todays, drivers. Well, I cannot, for the life of me, see where this rule is improving safety, wehn it is adversely putting the health of those night drivers at risk, because they now have to either change their "body clocks" in order to meet delivery deadlines, or they have to sit an addition 12 hours, in order to stay in rythm and drive the way they have adjusted to. Personally, I hope that Congress DOES suspend that provision, or at least order a reversion back to the 34 hour reset rule to it's original requirement, whether you object to that, or not. One thing I would like to see, is that Congress institute a requirement that anyone who is installed in any official position in the FMCSA, have a minimum of no less than 10 years experience Driving trucks for a living, along with people who have been in the industry long enough to fully understand the issues that drivers face every day, and every time a new rule or "Safety" regulation comes down the pipe.

The hour of service (HOS) should be left alone. I have a lifetime of experience in the transportation industry that includes professional over the road driving of a tractor trailer, vehicle maintenance, safety, and management. The entire point of regulations is to insure our roads are safe for everybody. With that as a fact, Department of Transportation (DOT) has to error on the side of caution. It is a motor carrier’s duty to manage their business in way that allows them to make a profit. This would be known as earning your money in any other industry. We all have them same regulations to comply with; therefore it fair and possible. If the stipulations that require drivers to take at least 34 hours off duty ever eight days, must include two time periods between 1a.m. and 5 a.m., and could only be used once in any 7 day period, to “restart” their total hours of service were rescinded it would be a step in the wrong direction for all involved, except the motor carrier! Motor carriers and industry groups that are funded by the motor carriers have one goal…. PROFIT not safety! Yes we all want to make money and that’s great, just not at the cost of lives of the motoring public including other professional truck drivers. Rescinding these regulations would allow companies to sit drivers in truck stops and safety havens, at the motor carries convenience to wait on loads, instead of managing (earning) the fleet in an efficient way. This is great for the carrier because it reduces empty miles and no compensation (pay) for the driver’s time is required, although the majority of the time the driver must be ready to work and drive at the motor carrier’s request. If the 34 hours restart provision which only allows a 34 hour restart once in a seven day period is removed, it will be the motor carrier’s choice to allow the drivers to sit away from home paying for meals and showers, with no pay or keep the driver moving to allow the employee and the equipment to utilize the 70 hour total on duty (work) time. These forced multiple restarts could potentially keep the driver from returning home to take the 34 hour restart when freight slows down as well. Please understand a driver’s normal and allowed work day is up to 14 hours, day in and day out, up to a total of 70 hours a week with no such thing as overtime. Most drivers are paid on piece work, by the miles they drive or stops they deliver. These 70 hours of on duty time does not include life’s basics such as, sleeping in the sleeper or hotels depending on the job you have and searching for showers and food. If this 34 hour restart could be used more than one time in a 7 day period it would result in lower pay, more fatigue drivers on the road and less time at home. Motor carriers could require drivers to start operating after they have been awake all day taking their 34 hour restart break with a fresh 70 hours to work several times in an eight day period. A step in the right directions would be a federal minimum wage regulation for drivers and requiring 48 hours off every 7 days just like a the majority of other working Americans are privileged to. Until then let’s leave it alone!

None of you that write the bills or the "Specialists" that feed you data have ever been in a truck let alone drove one. If you read your own data it clearly states that the biggest problem on the roads today are the idiots you let drive cars and light trucks! That is where you should be focusing your efforts! It clearly states THEY CAN'T DRIVE!! You give them their own lanes and they still are able to screw up the flow of traffic. It states in your first paragraph, 30000 people die on our roads each year and only 4000 involved trucks!! I think if you spent more time and resources working on the other 26000 that die in cars instead of the 4000 (and out of the 4000 how many of those truck deaths were the the Fault of the 4 wheelers?) The roads would be much safer. I think it's time to get your head out of your asses!

There is a misconception that all collisions involving a large truck, are the fault of the driver of that unit. This is a concept that the media is very happy to spread, and create a lot of fear. It is disappointing to see that this article supports that misconception. The sentence: "Nearly 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year and driver fatigue is a leading factor." incorrectly states that the commercial driver is at fault. Here is some science that seems to go unmentioned any time a commercial vehicle is involved in a collision: in a study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, in fatal car-truck crashes car the car driver was at fault 81% of the time.

Thank you, Secretary Foxx, for this detailed information about the problems of driver fatigue, especially related to its role in tragic deaths due to truck crashes in our country each year. Thank you for standing up and speaking out to protect travelers on our roads. It will never bring my two daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), back to us, but it will save other families from the devastation and heartbreak caused by driver fatigue.

I do not know where you get your information? It is factually incorrect. I have been a driver for about 15-18 years. I know the tricks of the trade. I know people who have been driving safely for 40 plus years. The rules as they are currently written make the roads less safe. The current electronic logging equipment used by the largest carriers is not doing some of the things it was intended to do. Drivers are being manipulated every day by this equipment. If you really are serious about peoples safety, go get a CDL. Go drive for a large carrier and hang out in the truck stops with other drivers and talk to them as a fellow driver. Go to the big grocery shipper and receiver and watch what goes on. As you spend more time on the road you will see what needs to change. I am not a racist in any way. Some of the most dangerous drivers on the road are foreign. If you want to see the most dangerous companies. You can see them everyday on our nations highways. To see them you need to be one and among them. More rules and stricter rules is like gun control. It does not work. It only makes things harder for those that already abide by the rules. It does not deter or stop people that have no intention of following the rules.

this letter sounds like a bunch of fear mongering. You never mention who is at fault for people dieing in crashes. It just says truck involved. When the truck probably had nothing to do with it. The 30 minute break with no extension of the 14 hour rule stupid. You want real safer roads? Get rid of the 2 week trucking schools and LISTEN to what the experienced truckers are telling you and quick cowering to special interest groups. Also go after the cars who cause these 81% of the wrecks.

In an article published in Bulk Load industry news it states "In an email sent Friday evening, Kevin Kelley, a spokesman for Sen. Collins said Foxx’s letter is full of “inflammatory and inaccurate assertions.” “The letter is filled with rhetoric and not only ignores the Department's own data, but also the peer review of its data,” he said. “It also ignores facts outlined in a letter from the former Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Annette Sandberg who stated that Sen. Collins’s proposed changes would make the roads safer, ” he said citing the document sent in June to Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Richard Shelby (R- Ala.) Kelley said the Obama Administration forces truck drivers onto the roads during rush hour when data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has shown that's when the highest number of accidents occur. This was an interesting read.

Good letter - and I do not mind the 30 minute break-I like the 168 hour rule - but the two periods of 01:00 - 05:00 - puts drivers in heavier traffic than is necessary. Trucking is a 24/7 industry and 01:00 - 05:00 in our business is no different than 13:00-17:00.
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