Safety regulators from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have announced that they will be launching a $4 million study on driver fatigue and commercial trucking safety. The FMCSA – a government agency tasked with regulating commercial freight and passenger carrying companies – will be working with researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) to study the effects of restart breaks on fatigue levels and driver safety performance.
The study was prompted when a federal spending bill enacted at the end of 2014 suspended certain hours-of-service rules (regulations over how long commercial truck drivers can be on duty and drive) until research studies were completed.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Restart Study will focus on the following:
- A five-month on-road review of 250 truck drivers from a variety of operations and industries.
- Comparing truck driver fatigue and safety performance for drivers who take two night-time rest periods and drivers who take less than two rest periods during the 34-hour restart break.
- Analyzing safety performance through assessments of crashes, near-crashes, crash-relevant situations, driver fatigue and alertness, and short-term health consequences.
- Determining the need for new hours-of-service rules.
Driver fatigue is a common and highly concerning problem for motorists of all types across the country. Because commercial trucks are massive and difficult-to-maneuver machines, a tired driver behind the wheel of a big rig could spell disaster for innocent people of public roads and highways.
According to officials, the landmark study will play a crucial role in securing public safety. After the five month study is complete, it will be reviewed by medical and scientific panels and will be presented to Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Commercial Trucking Accidents & Your Rights
The study is a significant step toward reducing preventable commercial truck accidents, especially those caused by tired, fatigued, or overworked drivers. At Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs, we are available to help victims and families learn more about their rights after any type of truck accident.