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Did the stricter hours of service rules for truckers make a difference while they were in effect?

Earlier this year, lawmakers suspended stricter hours of service (HOS) rules implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2014. FMSCA made the changes in an attempt to eliminate truck driver fatigue and make the roadways safer for everyone. Those changes were in effect for a mere 18 months before they were suspended, but a new government report indicates positive results, even in the short time period.

Report Finds That More Sleep Equals Safer Roads

According to the report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), researchers found evidence of reduced driver fatigue and enhanced roadway safety during the period the rules were in effect, including the following:

  • Fewer fatal crashes involving trucks
  • Fewer truck drivers working the maximum schedule
  • Lower risk of truck driver fatigue
  • No increase in crashes during the early morning rush hour

The specific rule change that appears to have resulted in the increase in safety involves the trucker “re-start” rule. This rule, Red and White 18-Wheeler Turning Leftprevious to 2014, allowed for truckers to restart their 70-hour work week following an off-duty period of 34 hours. The 2014 change specified that the 34 hour off-duty period must include two overnight periods and limited its use to once every 168 hours. The GAO report found that the overnight rest period requirements forced truckers to get “restorative sleep” and resulted in drivers who were less fatigued and caused fewer accidents. FMCSA agreed with the findings of the report and will continue to encourage lawmakers to reinstate the HOS changes.

Looking Out For Your Safety

We can’t always depend on the government to make the right decisions for our safety. Pressure from big business and special interest groups will, unfortunately, continue to force lawmakers to compromise on issues of safety. But federal laws are not your only line of defense. If you or a loved one was injured by a truck driver who was fatigued or careless, we will be on your side to seek the justice you deserve. Call now for a free consultation at 800-237-3334.