Studies Spark Trucking Hours Debate
Four studies on driver fatigue prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to change the current hours of service (HOS) rules for commercial truck drivers. The studies found that safety risk increased as driver time increased, breaks were a significant factor in reducing safety risks, and there was not a significant statistical difference in safety in the 10th and 11th driving hours. The new HOS rules will go into effect on July 26, 2011 and will call for more rest time and mandatory breaks, and may include changes to the controversial 11-hour rule.
This study, sponsored by the FMCSA, was directed at analyzing driving hours, work hours, and breaks as “a function of time-on-task.” The study focused on four key issues relevant to the HOS regulations. Findings:
- 66% of the drivers’ workday was spent driving, 23% was spent performing other work-related activities, and 11% was classified as rest.
- Hour-by-hour comparison analyses failed to find a statistically significant difference between the 10th and 11th driving hours.
- Safety risks increased when non-driving activities pushed driving hours towards the end of the 14 hour shift.
- Driving breaks significantly reduced the risk of being involved in an accident during the 1-hour window after the break.
This study, also sponsored by the FMCSA found that:
- There is a strong and consistent pattern of increases in crash odds as driving time increases.
- The highest odds are in the 11th hour.
- There is a consistent increase after the 5th hour through the 11th hour.
- Odds of a crash were reduced when driving breaks occurred.
This study, conducted by the University of North Florida, examines the influence of bus operator driving hours on the occurrence of preventable collisions. It found that:
- There was a pattern between an increase in driving hours and propensity of collision.
- On average, bus drivers who are involved in preventable collisions drive over six hours more than the general bus driver population.
- According to the findings of this study, it is clear that the present regulation that limits drivers’ on-duty time to a maximum of seventy hours per week should be revisited.
This study, also conducted by the University of North Florida, examines the safety impacts of the existing operator hours of duty policies in 50 the states. Findings include:
- Bus operators working split schedules are more susceptible to fatigue than those working straight schedules.
- The group of operators working split schedules indicated less time of sleep, long driving hours, and early starting/late ending schedule patterns.
- There is a strong statistical significance attached to the association between crash occurrence and fatigue condition.
- A suggestion that transit agencies should establish fatigue countermeasures through the use of fatigue detective technologies and policies.
An Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney
Thomas J. Henry have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate.
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