Fleet Management

Former FMCSA Head Supports Restart Amendment, Slams Critics for 'Political Opportunism'

June 23, 2014

By Jim Park

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-- TransSafe Consulting, LLC
-- TransSafe Consulting, LLC

Annette Sandberg has come out in support of changes to the 34-hour restart provision. In a June 17 letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Transportation, Sandberg, who served three years as Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under President George W. Bush, said the changes to the restart provision imposed by the current administration were "done without the benefit of proper scientific research, and [are] hurting highway safety - as well as the economy.

Sandberg also slammed critics of the recent amendment proposed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for trying to link calls for a roll-back of the 34-hour restart provision to the recent New Jersey crash involving a Walmart truck and comedian Tracy Morgan.

"Current evidence ... indicates the cause of this crash had nothing to do with the provisions being addressed in Senator Collins' amendment," she said in the letter. "To imply that these changes had anything to do with crash in New Jersey is political opportunism at its worst."

In the letter, Sandberg explained to the Senators that the current restart rules could actually compromise safety rather than enhancing it by forcing more trucks onto highways during early morning hours.

The practical effect of these restrictions, an effect the current head of the FMCSA has called "unintended," is to push more truck traffic onto the highways at 5:01am  -  or when when America's commuters are hitting the road to go to work or when children are heading to school, the letter says.

"These early morning hours are the riskiest time of day for trucks to be on the road," notes . "A truck driving between midnight and 3am is a third less likely to be involved in a crash as one traveling between 6am and 9am.

"Suspending these changes -- while keeping the remaining hours-of-service rules intact -- in order to fully study the impact of shifting more truck traffic to daylight hours is a common sense solution to this problem."

Sandberg, a principal at TransSafe Consulting, also seems to suggest the current administration's preoccupation with fatigue might be misplaced. 

"The fact is, while an important issue to address, fatigue is not the number one issue in truck safety," she wrote. "Truck driver fatigue is listed as a cause in less than 2% of truck crashes -- but due to underreporting in the wake of these tragedies, the true figure is probably between 6% and 8%. Excess speed. Distracted driving. Aggressive driving. These are all more important highway safety issues that are not being addressed fast enough by the government."

Click here to read the full text of Sandberg's letter to Senate Transportation Subcommittee leaders.


  1. 1. mary bass [ June 24, 2014 @ 05:41AM ]

    I've been driving 40yrs 4 million safe miles
    The Walmart Driver had everything they want in our truck so putting E logs and the 1to5 am restart didn't stop the accident. Until you can regulate common sense and someone's right foot because of speeding. All the electronics in the world won't stop anything

  2. 2. Adrian Elders [ June 25, 2014 @ 12:03PM ]

    I mean, no offense, but Annette Sandberg now works in the private sector and has a vested interest in making sure regulation doesn't hurt her income. She works for Quality Distribution (a bulk transportation company), as well as for Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson and Feary (a law firm which represents transportation companies).

    In my opinion, she's not promoting safety - she's against any additional trucking regulation.

  3. 3. Lee Lenard [ June 29, 2014 @ 09:14PM ]

    The most dangerous vehicles on our Nation's highways today are: 1. 4 wheeler drivers texting, 2. 4 wheeler drivers on cell phones, 3. 62 mph truck, 4. truck with electronic logs, 5. RV's and pickup trucks pulling 8,000 pound plus trailers.......JULY 1, 2013 MANDATE FORCED IN THE MOST DANGEROUS OPERATION THE TRUCK INDUSTRY AND DRIVERS HAVE EVER FACED. Electronic logs will become the next worst. While they work for some drivers (those that only work 8-12 hours per day with very flexible runs and 5 days per week) the 11/14 hour per day driver working 6-7 days per week is FORCED to speed, take chances with traffic, run red lights etc. just to BEAT THE E-LOG CLOCK which if truth ever comes out is what happened to the Walmart Driver in New Jersey.
    LET US WORK, let us be safe for our own lives as well as public and let us rest when we need it and let us manage our work hours and time off, The pre- July 2013 system was really really good with flexibility.

  4. 4. Demetrius Harrell [ July 01, 2014 @ 10:37AM ]

    What this 2013 rule did, and in a lot of cases even the old rules, is make drivers have to drive even more fatigued due to the fact that they cannot rest when they want. I have been on the road plenty of times and had that 2pm sleepiness hit me and WISH i could hit the rest stop and sleep for a few hours. The hours of service does not let you do that. You lose all of that time you slept off of the 14 hour clock and that can literally set you back a day once you include the mandatory 10 hour rest. So what do I do?? I keep driving sleepy as s**t so that I do not possibly lose a day because I can not stop and sleep. And what ON EARTH is the point of 1 restart a week??? Rest is Rest if I took 2 restarts off, that is 68 hours of rest out of the 168 hours possible in 7 days. then there will still be 10 hour rest periods in the remaining 100 hours. WHAT MORONS ARE WRITING THESE LAWS???

  5. 5. badger [ July 02, 2014 @ 12:58PM ]

    In response to a comment above. Give me a break. Don't you know that the FMCSA as well as most of these so-called safety groups are riddled with insurance company employees? It's about the money that they think they can make and most isn't even based on sound science. Washington is a disgusting Cesspool.


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