FMCSA Reopens Hours-of-Service Comment Period

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of May 9, 2011
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Agency will only consider comments on four driver fatigue-related documents it recently added to the public docket.

After last week’s issue of Fast-Fax was put to bed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it was reopening the comment period on its hours-of-service proposal. According to a notice published in the May 9th issue of the Federal Register, the comment deadline is June 8, 2011.

Four Studies Added to Docket

In the notice, FMCSA explained that it would only consider comments on four documents it just added to the public docket. Following is a brief summary of each of the four studies FMCSA is soliciting public comments on:

(1) The Impact of Driving, Non-Driving Work, and Rest Breaks on Driving Performance in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations, a May 2011 report prepared by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s Center for Truck and Bus Safety and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The researchers assessed activities performed by CMV drivers during the 14-hour workday and investigated the relationship between safety-critical events (SCEs), driving hours, work hours and breaks.

(2) Hours of Service and Driver Fatigue-Driver Characteristics Research, a May 2011 report prepared by Penn State University’s Larson Transportation Institution and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Researchers compared carrier-supplied driver logs for periods of one to two weeks before a crash to a random sample of non-crash-involved drivers from the same company, terminal and month. The data showed a “consistent increase in crash odds as driving time increases” and that breaks reduced crash odds.

(3) Analysis of the Relationship Between Operator Cumulative Driving Hours and Involvement in Preventable Collisions, a paper originally submitted to the Transportation Research Board in November 2010. The study examines the influence of bus operator driving hours on the occurrence of preventable collisions. The researchers used several analytical methods and employed data from incident reports and operator schedules. They concluded that on average bus drivers involved in preventable collisions drive more than six hours more than the general bus driver population.

(4) Potential Causes Of Driver Fatigue: A Study On Transit Bus Operators In Florida, another paper submitted to the Transportation Research Board in November 2010. The researchers employed questionnaire surveys, incident data archived by transit agencies and bus driver schedules to determine the relationship between crash involvement and operator schedules. Their study revealed that individuals working split schedules are more susceptible to fatigue than those working straight schedules.

How to Comment

The quickest and easiest way to submit a comment is by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Insert ‘‘FMCSA-2004-19608’’ in the ‘‘Keyword’’ box, and click ‘‘Search.’’ Select “Hours of Service of Drivers” in the results menu to open the Docket Folder. When the new screen appears, click on ‘‘Submit a Comment’’ in the upper right corner. To request links to the full reports or information on other methods to submit your comments, please send an email request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A Review of FMCSA’s Proposed Changes

FMCSA’s hours-of-service proposal includes some hotly contested changes to the current regulatory requirements. Here are some of the highlights:

  • FMCSA proposed to retain the 34-hour restart provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours by taking at least 34 hours off-duty. The hitch: The restart period must include two consecutive off-duty periods from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. Also, drivers would be allowed only one restart per seven-day period.
  • The proposal called for a 14- hour workday that includes at least a one-hour break. As a result, drivers will have a maximum of 13 hours to complete all on-duty work-related activities.
  • The agency said it was leaning towards adopting a 10-hour limit on daily driving time, but solicited comments on whether drivers should be limited to 10 or 11 hours.
  • The proposal also includes the option of extending a driver’s daily shift to 16 hours twice a week to accommodate loading and unloading issues.

How to Learn More

To access Foley’s free Hours-of-Service 2011 training, visit our online store at Hours-of-Service 2011 is listed as the first product in the Best Sellers category. In order to view the training, you will need to add the item to the shopping cart and follow the instructions to complete the transaction. There is absolutely no charge for viewing this training, and you will not be required to enter credit card information.

If you have any questions about the training or the proposed changes, please call a Foley compliance specialist at 1-800-253-5506, ext. 0869.

Transportation Ticker

NY Congressman Reintroduces ‘Jason’s Law’. This week Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) reintroduced “Jason’s Law,” a bill aimed at increasing safe truck parking facilities across the country. The bill would allocate $120 million over the next six years for safety improvements to rest areas and truck stops across the country.

Like most safety initiatives, “Jason’s Law” was born out of tragedy. The effort is named after Jason Rivenburg, a trucker from Schoharie County, NY, who was murdered two years ago in South Carolina. Rivenburg parked at an abandoned gas station because he couldn’t find safe parking near the facility where he was scheduled to deliver his load the next morning. Since his tragic death, Rivenburg’s family has made several trips to Washington, D.C., to advocate for “Jason’s Law.”

Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) has signed on as a co-sponsor of “Jason’s Law.”

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 686 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011