FMCSA Finishes Data Collection of Study on Hours Regulations

Kevin Anderson Hours of Service, Regulations, Transportation

The FMCSA recently announced that they finished the data collection portion of a study meant to figure out the appropriate restart regulations to use in the trucking industry. The study is mandated by federal law after Congress and the White House enacted legislation last year suspending controversial hours regulations.

The FMCSA is studying the impact of their proposed regulations and whether those regulations should be modified or changed at all. This mandate from congress is just one of several areas where the FMCSA has come under federal scrutiny. The agency has found itself in the courtroom and congressional hearings justifying the regulations that it imposes on the trucking industry on a regular basis.

What the Study Accomplished

This data collection portion of this study collected information over a wide swath of the trucking industry. The primary focus of the study was to produce the effects of this rule on the health, safety, and fatigue of drivers who are put under the agency’s regulations.

To accomplish this purpose, the FMCSA collected data on fleets of all sizes, and focused on data points including gathering information on more than:

  • 3,000 duty cycles through the use of electronic tracking devices;
  • 75,000 tests on drivers to test their alertness; and
  • 22,000 days of sleep information for drivers of commercial vehicles.

The information was gather from over 200 participating drivers, and will drive the analysis that now follows.

As the analysis portion of the study begins, the agency will need to report the results and apply them to the rules as written. The FMCSA wants to finish the analysis and study by the end of 2015, but may extend into the next year.

Regulation and Suspension

The parts of the rules being studied are popularly named the restart rules of 2013. That portion of the rule put the following requirements on truck drivers:

  • No driver was allowed to be on duty after 60/70 hours in a 7/8 day period;
  • A driver had to restart their 7/8 day period only after a 34 consecutive hour break from work; and
  • The periods had to include times from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., and could only be used once per week measured from the previous restart.

When this rule was first implemented it was met with a flurry of criticism from the industry. The rule was meant to increase safety, but the real-world effect tended to be the opposite. Drivers drove at the earliest times of day to fit in as much work as possible, and many in the industry complained that the rule would create a danger for the roads. It was in this environment that congress and the White House stepped in and suspended the rule. Now, as we discussed, the agency is tasked with studying the real-world effects of this rule and providing the results of that study justifying or eliminating the rule.

A Trucking Law Firm For Your Company

As your company continues to grow and evolve, state and federal regulations will play a large role in how that happens. At Anderson and Yamada, P.C., we are a trucking law firm that can help your company navigate the numerous rules, laws, and regulations that affect the trucking industry. Contact us so we can provide you with all the legal help your company needs.