New federal rules on commercial truck driver hours of service have actually increased driver fatigue, according to two-thirds of drivers recently surveyed by the American Transportation Research Institute.
ATRI, the research arm of the American Trucking Associations, surveyed more than 2,300 commercial truck drivers and 400 carriers about how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s HOS rule has affected their operations. Among reasons for the change in drivers’ fatigue, respondents noted that the new HOS requirement to take a 30-minute break after eight hours of on-duty time causes their workdays to be longer because of the break itself and the time it takes to drive to a safe location.
More than half of the drivers also reported that the rule’s changes to the 34-hour “restart” provision to reset their weekly driving hours has decreased their safety by forcing them onto the roads during hours of congested traffic, which also endangers other motorists. The rule, which fully went into effect July 1, requires drivers to sleep between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for two periods during the 34 hours.