FMCSA looking for a few good truckers for restart study

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to know: “Would you like to have an impact?”

That’s the opening line of the agency’s invitation to truck drivers and carriers who might be willing to participate in a Driver Restart Study. The study will measure and analyze the fatigue and safety performance levels of drivers who take two nighttime rest periods during their 34-hour restart break and those drivers who take less than two nighttime rest periods during their restart break. 

The research program was mandated by Congress when, in the bill funding the federal government for 2015, lawmakers included a rider to suspend certain provisions of the hours of service (HOS) rule. Sen. Susan Collins and supporters successfully argued that the restart requirement disrupts some drivers’ sleep routines and puts more trucks on the road during the morning rush hour, and that FMCSA had little evidence to support the need for such a requirement.

Additionally, the provision known as the Collins amendment calls for a ‘naturalistic study’ of the consecutive overnight off-duty periods; that means comparing the safety, driver health and operational impacts on those who stick to the June 2013 HOS revision to those who do not.

“Drivers will be paid for their participation,” the agency emphasized in its Jan. 15 notice. Additionally, carriers may be compensated for lost revenue due to the study and for the cost of installing data collection equipment on their trucks. 

During the study, participants will drive their “normal revenue-producing routes,” FMCSA said.

The five-month restart study will compare driver work schedules to asses safety critical events, operator fatigue and level of alertness, and river health. 

Some of the study requirements: 

  • The study team will monitor driver compliance on a daily basis.
  • Participating drivers will be required daily to complete one or more three-minute alertness tests.
  • Every driver may be required to maintain sleep/wake logs, record caffeine intake, and report sleepiness during the study.
  • Drivers will be asked to complete a survey about their experience upon completion of the study.

Drivers who would like more information on the study should visit the study Web page.

To participate, drivers should subscribe to FMCSA’s Fatigue Study mailing list. By providing your email address, you agree to be contacted in the future about the Driver Restart Study. E-mails will only be sent regarding the study, the agency notes, and drivers can unsubscribe at any time.

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