Safety & Compliance

Ferro Discusses Split Sleep Study, CSA, Hours of Service, Electronic Logs at MATS Fleet Forum

April 01, 2014

By Deborah Lockridge

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Anne Ferro during the MATS Fleet Forum. Photo: Evan Lockridge
Anne Ferro during the MATS Fleet Forum. Photo: Evan Lockridge

MATS, LOUISVILLE -- While encouraging audience members to file their comments on recently proposed legislation for mandatory electronic logs and the agency's research into new-entrant requirements, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro last week also noted that the agency is going ahead with a pilot study of split sleep, a provision of revised hours of service regulations that has been sorely missed by some team operations.

Speaking at the Mid-America Trucking Show Fleet Forum event prior to the Mid-America Trucking Show last week, Ferro noted that the agency does respond to feedback and criticism, whether it's from the trucking industry or oversight agencies like the General Accountability Office or the DOT's own inspector general.

Talking about the Compliance, Safety, Accountability enforcement program, Ferro said, "We've got a strong program out there but it’s a program that can always improve. We have an analysis from the GAO, that said we're using too much data … and the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) did a scathing analysis and said we're not using our data enough. We're in a little big of a Goldilocks situation."

"Congress has mandated that we reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes, regardless of fault," Ferro emphasized.

One thing you can expect to see, she said, are some changes in the DataQs system, which is used for challenging inaccurate CSA data. When a state violation is dropped, she said, the agency will remove those points from the fleet's CSA scores.

In addition to CSA, another one of FMCSA's recent changes that has drawn industry criticism is last year's new hours of service regulations, particularly the changes to the 34-hour restart.

Ferro addressed criticisms that the changes requiring rest from 1-5 a.m. during the restart are harmful to drivers who regularly drive the night shift.

"Even a nighttime scheduled driver tends to flip back to nighttime sleep when they're off," she said. She said research has shown that daytime sleep is the least recuperative. Night sleep is best, and split sleep is in between.

"Split sleep could be a better option for drivers overnight than what we have today," she said. Recognizing this, she said, and that soon-to-be-mandated electronic logging devices could help police driver behaviors, "we are moving ahead with a pilot study of split sleep to see how you can reintroduce some of that flexibility" that some in the industry lament losing under the latest HOS regs.

The agency is working with the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the National Association of Small Trucking Companies to craft a pilot study.

Another thing the agency is studying, she said, is the correlation between payment method and safety. Paying someone by piecework (by the mile) pushes individuals to do more in the same time. Add lengthy unpaid detention times to that, she said, and it can make the situation worse.

"So we are also doing a study on different methods and models of driver compensation. We'll probably have preliminary results on that near the end of 2015."

As head of the Maryland Motor Truck Association before becoming FMCSA Administrator, Ferro said, "I heard time and time again that the key is to get to a level playing field – if the agency is requiring this they need to make sure folks aren't cutting corners.

"We need to continue to work harder to make sure the ones that are cutting corners have what they need to know to get better, the incentives to get better, or the enforcement actions to get them off the street."

However, Ferro noted that "the rules -- the theories, the research and the data analysis behind those rules -- are realized on the road with that driver, that carrier, that piece of equipment. We need to be familiar with the industry and how it's operating within those rules."

To get a better sense of that, she said, last fall she did a ride-along with a small business owner-operator, an overnight trip ("he was kind enough to stay in hotel while I stayed in the truck.")

"I was trying to do more listening than talking as he shared the impact of the hours of service rules, what it was like operating in an environment of tremendous unpredictability."


  1. 1. haller [ April 02, 2014 @ 07:39AM ]

    If you are going to implement electric logs then a hard look at driver pay per hour is a must. Electric logs will force or make a cdl driver push the speed limit all day or night to get the most $ per run. When the truck waits to load or offload the driver gets paid nothing or very little while he or she is moving the truck,, backing up, securing the load, waiting for the freight bills, paper work, etc.. That's called working and not getting paid. Truck drivers refuel their trucks for free, they DO NOT get paid to work while refueling..

  2. 2. John [ April 02, 2014 @ 07:47AM ]

    More mumbo-jumbo from somebody that does NOT have a longterm idea of what a driver goes through week after week. So she rode in a truck for 2 days last year with a driver to get to MATS. Big deal! Put her ass in a truck, in a team drive situation, for at least a month. No special treatment from the trucking company. Then she would see what it's like to sit at the dock waiting to get loaded/unloaded, while the clock is burning down. Or see what traffic is really like for a big rig, during rush hour. Or how STUPID that 30 minute break is! Make sure she "logs" it just like she was actually doing it. Sitting in the passenger seat IS on duty. That way she might have a different perspective on the life of a trucker. Until then, she's just spewing words that have no real meaning to the hard working drivers that keep AMERICA MOVING!

  3. 3. Gregory Foreman [ April 02, 2014 @ 03:13PM ]

    Well, the FMCSA, in the form of Mary Ferro, has finally admitted it, put it out in the open, even if she blamed it on congress. By going on record and stating "Congress has mandated that we reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes, regardless of fault," Ferro let the cat out of the bag so to speak. So the reality of the situation is such that the FMCSA will not take into account any of the safety measures required by the FMCSA on the trucking industry, even in the case of an accident. The FMCSA will not take FAULT into consideration! Why? The answer is simple. An analysis of fault could produce a metric or a series of metrics by which FMCSA rules and regulations could be evaluated for effectiveness and performance. But this is not really surprising. After all, the FMCSA has routinely ignored, disregarded and, at times, even questioned the validity of the FMCSA's own four year safety study, involving study of over 80K accidents, that demonstrated in 75% of accidents between private vehicles and commercial vehicles, fault rested with the private(4 wheeler) vehicle.
    Well, after all, why should they, ie, the FMCSA, both with the facts. They are to busy ruining the last bastion of free enterprise in the US, the trucking industry.

  4. 4. Kenny Scott [ April 02, 2014 @ 05:01PM ]

    The Fmcsa got the hrs of service right the first time. Then they screwed it up. Now they want to come back and revisit what was right the first time, sounds like big government waste to me and also no black For me , I will not even discuss it.

  5. 5. FRED KITTMAN [ April 03, 2014 @ 12:34PM ]


  6. 6. Bruce Durand [ April 04, 2014 @ 11:30AM ]

    First off I would like to say is are bodies are not machines. They get tried when they should not and they will not always sleep when they should. That being said why are we trying to make them one. If I get tired I should have the ability to sleep when I need to, with out affecting my ability to earn pay. I sometimes a hour break is just what I need to be on top of my game for driving. But now I can not take that break because it will count against my driving hours. So we drive and fight it, and do this in the name of safety REALLY!!

  7. 7. aspen574 [ April 05, 2014 @ 02:48PM ]

    Another IDIOT bureaucrat that doesn't have a clue what real life is about. or a REAL JOB. QUIT trying to MICRO MANAGE EVERY ONE AND EVERY THING AND LEAVE US ALONE. The government and its idiots screw up EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH.

  8. 8. Joe [ April 05, 2014 @ 09:41PM ]

    Is not the samething watching ride the bull then ride bull this lawmakers just looking the way to affecting trucking industries always the truck driver faul never go behind 4 wheeler when they use truck route causing accidents involving commercial trucks in theirs stupidities ridiculous way of drive.

  9. 9. Aj [ April 07, 2014 @ 12:08PM ]

    When an entity cannot control its self it they try to control everything around it in order to give an appearance of control, this is very evident of the government now ruling us . I for one have decided they are no longer my gov. Since they have stopped serving the people and now have the people serving their
    Will. As the pres. Said when asked about healthcare act as well as min.wage act "I don't care what congress thinks" by the way congress is one of our only voices in washington so when he says that, in effect he is saying he does not care what the people think.

  10. 10. Lee Lenard [ April 07, 2014 @ 07:57PM ]

    Almost every comment above is "Accurate and on Target"....The July 1, 2013 mandate has done an excellent job of increasing truck accidents...yes increasing...those of you out there driving, just think how many more you have seen in the past 9 months than ever before.....make a rule to create a problem to fix!!! and now they are really going to double down on this with mandated "electronic logs"....create a really big exciting problem to fix ! Yes with the change to the 34 hours rule forcing 2 1-5 days off along with 30 min break rule, we all drive when we should not, cannot rest when we should, drive faster than we want and take risk that we should not be forced to! Just to try and compensate for the severe restrictions forced by the July, 2013 mandate. I operate for multiple employers...some use EOBC and some still use manual log book. I am a much much safer driver when driving for one of the employers using the manual log book.....

  11. 11. mike [ April 13, 2014 @ 05:54AM ]

    'm an independent owner operator I have a wife and two kids and want to be home as often as I can be when I go on the road I have a job to do not sit in a truck stop and be bored out of my mind for 10 hours I don't sleep at home for more than 7 hours I sure as hell am not going to sleep on the road for 10 hours the whole log book rules can not be made to suite everyone as every trucking operation is different i personally like to deliver in the morning hours drive to my next pick up get loaded then take a shower and I like to take a short nap in the afternoon but with the 14 hour rule this off duty time goes against my 14 hour rule as I can not extend my day therefore I'm forced to drive tired to get to where I'm going before my clock runs out and I can sit in a truck stop if there is one to be found for 10 more hours I think the government people should mind their own business and I'll do mine the biggest thing here is safety i know when I'm tired and when to take a nap I don't need our gov telling me when I should work and when and how long I should sleep I always thought we were a free country but our gov sure is doing a good job of telling us what and how to do it and to top it off we have to pay for it only in america
    the way I look at it all of us drivers are going to take a pay cut because it'll take an extra day to do what you do now in a work week I'll be looking at a new line of work with less big bro looking down at me, the good driver list will get shorter but that's o k the gov wants it that way

  12. 12. haller [ April 14, 2014 @ 07:38AM ]

    The fed-x truck that was hauling butt and caused the accident where 10 people were killed and burned to death, was equipped with an on board recorder. fed-x can maximize profits for the co. and investors by making that truck stay on an UNSAFE tight schedule. Large trucking companies and FMCSA will tell us "Onboard Logs" save paperwork and will save lives. This simple is NOT true. Onboard recorders make the driver drive fasted to stay on an unsafe schedule...... In the future onboard recorders will cause more DEATHS on Americas Highways, but increase profit....

  13. 13. Jo [ April 15, 2014 @ 02:37PM ]

    I want to see the stats for accidents caused by 4 wheelers fault vs truckers fault. Also stats for accidents caused by drivers in companies with more then lets say 20 trucks, less then 20 and single O/O. As well as how many of the big fleets with their Electronic log books retain drivers more then 12 months.
    The reality is simple....NO TRUCKS NO AMERICA....

  14. 14. lastgoodusername [ April 27, 2014 @ 05:03PM ]

    boy , i bet that was some spine tingling discussion. Who would pay to listen to that much bullshit? I wouldn't even watch that on the television. I can't believe the would let that dog and pony show in MATS. I guess that Divot the clown must have been booked. Do any of you really think queen anne was taking in anything that was said? the agenda is set, the die is cast and money has spoken. the big companies can only compete when they buy a senator and make the laws. little man on the way out my friends. truck driving is going to become just like every other 3D job.dirty , demeaning and dangerous , and of course cheap.


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