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FMCSA plans to finish HOS restart study this year

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Oct. 1 that the data collection phase for the congressionally mandated commercial motor vehicle driver restart study had concluded and that it expected to complete the entire study by the end of the year.

As part of last year’s federal government funding bill, Congress suspended enforcement of the changes in the hours-of-service (HOS) restart provisions that FMCSA had implemented in July 2013 pending completion of a naturalistic study of the operational, safety, health, and fatigue impacts of two provisions of the HOS restart regulations. Assuming the final funding bill for the next fiscal year retains the provision, the suspension will remain in effect unless the Department of Transportation and the DOT Inspector General determine that the study met statutory requirements and that the results of the study demonstrate improvements across all outcomes.

The two regulatory provisions at issue are Sec. 395.3(c) and Sec. 395.3(d). Sec. 395.3(c) requires a CMV driver who wants to restart a 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. Sec. 395.3(d) allows the voluntary 34-hour restart to be used only once every seven days.

FMCSA said the study team collected data to compare five-month work schedules of more than 220 drivers to assess safety critical events, operator fatigue/alertness, and short-term health outcomes. The study involves data both from drivers who operate under the HOS restart provisions in effect between July 1, 2013 and December 15, 2014, and those who operate under the provisions as in effect prior to July 1, 2013. For more information on the project, click here.

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