Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Restart Study data collection concludes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on Oct. 1 that data collection has been completed for the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver Restart Study, the congressionally-mandated naturalistic study of the operational, safety, health, and fatigue impacts of two provisions of the hours-of-service (HOS) restart regulations.

Following the study requirements set forth by Congress, the study team from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute collected data to compare five-month work schedules of drivers to assess safety critical events such as crashes, near-crashes, and crash-relevant conflicts; operator fatigue/alertness; and short-term health outcomes of drivers who operate under the HOS restart provisions in effect between July 1, 2013 and December 15, 2014, and those drivers who operate under the provisions as in effect prior to July 1, 2013.

Drivers from a wide variety of fleet sizes and operations provided a substantial amount of data throughout the course of the study period. More than 220 participating drivers contributed data as they drove their normal, revenue-producing routes, including:
  • More than 3,000 driver duty cycles, as captured by electronic logging devices
  • More than 75,000 driver alertness tests
  • More than 22,000 days of driver sleep data
Data analysis has commenced, and FMCSA is working toward completing the final report by the end of the year.  FMCSA does not have preliminary study findings; however, the agency said it is pleased with the high volume of data collected from participating drivers and expects this data will help inform future activities by the agency as well as the current study.

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (P.L. 113-235), enacted December 16, 2014, suspended enforcement of sections 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) of the HOS regulations. Section 395.3(c) requires a CMV driver who wants to restart his/her weekly driving window (of 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days) to take two consecutive periods off duty from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. as part of the 34-hour (or longer) restart.  Section 395.3(d) allows the voluntary 34-hour restart to be used only once every seven days.

These provisions were enacted following extensive research and public comment with the goal of reducing excessively long work hours that increase both the risk of fatigue-related crashes and long-term health problems for drivers. Enforcement of these sections will remain suspended as required by Congress until the Secretary of Transportation submits the CMV Driver Restart Study final report to Congress.

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