In 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented new hours-of-service regulations that controlled how many hours truck drivers could be on the road over a given time period. The purpose of the regulations was to reduce truck driver fatigue, a common contributing factor to many commercial truck accidents.
Regulations Halted Pending Study
However, earlier this year, those regulations were temporarily suspended, so that the agency could conduct a study to determine the effectiveness of the regulations. The FMCSA plans to select two groups of drivers and monitor them over the course of several months. One group will adhere to the pre-2013 regulations, while the other group will adhere to the hours-of-service regulations that were passed two years ago.
Congressman Voices Concerns Over Study
Congressman Richard Hanna has been one of the trucking industry’s biggest supporters in Washington. He recently wrote a letter to the FMCSA expressing concerns over how the study is being conducted.
His primary concern is that the drivers the FMCSA is targeting for participation in the study (those that work between 60-70 hours per week and typically drive at night) are not representative of truck drivers as a whole. Hanna believes this could unfairly skew the results of the study.
Trucking Industry Concerns
The trucking industry has been opposed to the regulations that were passed two years ago. Its primary argument is that the hours-of-service regulations have the unintended consequence of forcing truck drivers onto the roads in early morning and evening rush hours, which causes even more accidents due to the amount of traffic.
Hanna is requesting that the FMCSA also examine each group’s accident rate during rush hour traffic as a part of its study.
Finally, Hanna’s letter also asked the FMCSA to limit its study to one and two night restarts, arguing that restarts of more than two nights do not accurately represent the restart restrictions that are being studied.
Follow this link to read more about hours-of-service regulations.