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FROM THE HILL


deaths in 2012.Deaths of occupants of large trucks rose to nearly 700, an increase of eight percent from the year before and a 40 percent increase since 2009. The FMCSA says on its website that more


than 85 percent of drivers “will see little to no changes in their schedules” as a result of the new 34-hour restart rule. But ATRI believes the new rules may be


reducing driver restedness. In a study released inNovember, ATRI said more than 66 percent of the drivers it had surveyed said the new rules had increased fatigue, and 82.5 percent said the rules negatively had affected their quality of life.Drivers said they are being required to drive more during congested time periods and have seen a pay decrease. More than 80 percent of motor carriers surveyed


running seven- and eight-day total to avoid exceeding the limits. J.J. Keller’sHansen agreed that use of the


restart appears to be declining. “That’s been our experience is that more


people are looking at the alternative, and if they don’t have to, they’re looking at a way to avoid needing to use the restart,” he said. Brewster said that drivers are reporting


longer duty days because they are driving around looking for a safe place to park to comply with the rest period requirement. By the time they shut down to rest, they’ve lost 50 minutes, not 30. Under the old rules, drivers were required


to rest eight hours and then could drive 10 hours spaced over 15 on-duty hours.Hansen said that was a more flexible duty day that let


companies need those loads to be watched, Hansen said. There’s also a conflict with Pipeline andHazardous Materials Safety Administration rules that require a certain amount of attention, for which the FMCSA is supposed to make allowances. To ensure compliance with hours of service


mandates, the FMCSA in March proposed requiring trucks and buses to use electronic logging devices. Ferro said analysis has shown the devices would prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries annually with a safety benefit of $394.8 million. In her speech, Ferro described a ride-


along she had participated in with an owner-operator in which she had seen the effects of uncertainties caused by shippers and receivers. “Shortly after the ride-along, I


“WHAT WE KNOW, WE KNOWFROM OUR SURVEY DATA


COLLECTION ON WHAT DRIVERS ARE TELLING US, THAT THEY ARE IN MANY CASES MORE FATIGUED AS A RESULT OF THESE RULES CHANGES.”


—REBECCA BREWSTER, AMERICAN TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH INSTITUTE


saw a productivity loss under the new rules, with almost half saying they needed more drivers to haul the same amount of freight. Brewster said the Institute surveyed more


than 2,300 commercial drivers and 400 motor carriers and also analyzed logbook data of more than 40,000 drivers. It estimated the annual loss of wages to be between $1.6 billion and $3.9 billion. “What we know, we know from our survey


data collection on what drivers are telling us, that they are in many cases more fatigued as a result of these rules changes,” she said. Based on anecdotal evidence, an


unintended consequence appears to be that fewer drivers are using the restart because they are behind on their work, Brewster said. Instead of resting 34 hours, they keep a


10


drivers take rest breaks when they needed them. “A lot of drivers, they feel that they’re


being pushed now to get everything done in those 14 hours, whereas before, they could shut down for a nap if they wanted to, and that wouldn’t harm their productivity,” he said. Not all recent FMCSA rules changes have


decreased driving time.Under rules adopted in February 2012, activities once considered “on duty,” such as resting in a parked vehicle, are now considered “off duty.” But even that distinction has led to


problems. Explosives haulers are allowed to remain on duty during their break because they must attend to their loads. But other hazmat haulers are required to go off duty, and that’s causing problems because their


testified before Congress on what I saw first- hand – and I talked about the impact of driver pay and loading dock delays on a driver’s ability to be efficient, professional and safe. Simply stated, uncompensated delays force drivers to press legal and physical limits to capture a day’s pay,” she said in her prepared remarks. FMCSA has completed phase one of a


study of how excessive wait times for loading and unloading cargo effect driver schedules and hours of service compliance. It will release the report later this year. Another study will collect data on the effects of split sleep periods on driver alertness and sleep quality. FMCSA requires drivers to be medically


certified that they do not suffer from a respiratory dysfunction, such as sleep apnea,


ROADWISE | ISSUE 4, 2014 | www.mttrucking.org


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