The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that it will be working with researchers from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) to conduct a landmark study on driver fatigue in commercial trucking. The $4 million study will be led by VTTI’s Center for Truck and Bus Safety and will include the following:
- A 5-month analysis of an estimated 250 drivers involved in a variety of commercial trucking operations, including long and short haul, refrigerated, tanker, and more.
- A comparison of driver fatigue / safety performance between truck drivers who take two night-time rest periods during their 34-hour restart breaks and drivers who take fewer than two rest periods.
- Assessments of safety performance based on crashes, near-crash events, and safety-critical circumstances. Researchers will also look at the effects of fatigue on driver alertness and any short-term health consequences.
The study – considered the largest ever of its kind – is designed to help safety regulators and lawmakers determine if changes need to be made to current hours-of-service rules. HOS rules are enforced by the FMCSA and govern the amount of time commercial truck drivers are allowed to drive and be on duty. It also mandates strict rest breaks.
In December, a federal spending bill enacted by Congress suspended two provisions of the HOS rules pending the outcome of the driver restart study. Researchers will soon begin collecting data and preparing their results, which will be peer-reviewed by medical and scientific panels. The study will also be presented to the U.S. Department of Transportation and Congress.
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. hopes that the new federal study will provide federal regulators with the information needed to create better laws that protect public safety on our roads. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we’ve worked with many truck and auto accident victims injured by preventable causes, including tired drivers.
If you have questions about your rights after a truck accident or any other type of motor vehicle accident, contact our legal team for a free case evaluation. We serve clients throughout the DC metro area.