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Truck Driver Safety Expert Witness:
34 Hour Restart & Trucker Fatigue Study Begins

Federally Mandated Trucker Fatigue Study Begins.

Truck Driver Safety Standard of Care Expert Witness / Trucking Regulatory Compliance Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

As Evidence Solutions, Inc. reported in December, the “Trillion Dollar Bill Rolls Back Hours of Service Provisions” required the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to roll back the requirement that a driver’s 34-hour restart include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods. The bill also rolled back the provision that limited the use of the restart to one time per week. The bill passed and was signed into law.

Driver Qualification Regulation Experts - FMCSA LogoFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - Truck Driver Qualification Expert Witness

Another provision in the bill required the Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General to initiate a “study of the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts of the restart provisions.” It also directed the DOT to submit to Congress its conclusions from the study. The study is to determine if the 2013 HOS rule “provide[s] a greater net benefit for the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts” than previous HOS regulations.

The study is about to get underway. The Virginia Polytechnic Institute’s (Virginia Tech) Transportation Institute will head the FMCSA’s required study of the 34-hour restart provisions which were implemented in 2013. The announcement was made by Virginia Tech on February Third in Blacksburg, VA. The Transportation Institute is looking for around 250 truck drivers to participate in the study. The drivers will be recruited from small, medium and large fleets and from a variety of operations and segments.

The study will have two groups of commercial truck drivers. The first group will abide by the pre-2013 Hours of Service (HOS) rules. The second group will operate under the 2013 provisions. The drivers in the study must agree to be studied for at least five months. Researchers will then compare the two group’s schedules, crashes, near-crashes, crash-relevant events, operator fatigue, alertness, and short-term health.

Upon completion, the study’s report will be sent to the DOT’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) for review. Once the OIG has reviewed the results it will make the study available to congress along with its recommendations. If the DOT OIG concludes the 2013 rules are better for safety and operator alertness, they will go back into effect.

Virginia Tech announced that it will use electronic logging devices, “high-tech watches” and other tools to gauge fatigue levels.

Evidence Solutions' Truck Safety Experts look forward to reviewing the study results!

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