Safety & Compliance

FMCSA to Study 'Excessive Commuting' by Truck Drivers

November 27, 2017

By David Cullen

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Photo: FMCSA

Photo: FMCSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking comment on a proposed survey of “excessive commuting” by truck drivers. The agency is defining as excessive any commuting to work that exceeds 150 minutes.

The survey would focus on the prevalence of such commuting in a commercial motor vehicle; the number and percentage of CMV drivers who commute; the distances they travel and the time zones they cross; the impact of such commuting on safety and fatigue; and existing commuting policies of motor carriers. 

In its notice on the survey, published in the Federal Register for Nov. 27, the agency said it is inquiring about trucker commuting practices to fulfill Section 5515 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. That section of the 2015 highway bill requires FMCSA to conduct a study on the safety effects of commutes by motor carrier operators that exceed 150 minutes. The FMCSA administrator is then required to submit a report to Congress on the findings of the study. 

Providing some background context, FMCSA also stated that “in the past two decades, as the number of workers has increased and the distance to affordable housing has also increased in most metropolitan areas, commuting times have increased in the United States.” 

The agency went on to say that long commuting times can adversely affect CMV drivers “in multiple ways,” including: 

  • Compromising off-duty time. “Long commuting times can reduce a driver’s available off-duty time for sleep and personal activities. This can lead to excessive fatigue while on duty, creating safety concerns for both the CMV driver and other drivers on the roads.”
  • Impacting driver health. “A recent study was conducted that monitored 4,297 adults from 12 metropolitan Texas counties. In this region, 90% of people commute to work. The study found that the drivers who have long commuting times were more likely to have poor cardiovascular health and be less physically fit. This study showed that people who commute long distances to work weigh more, are less physically active, and have higher blood pressure.” 

Although it is not mentioned in the FMCSA notice on the survey, it is generally understood that the FAST Act provision calling for the survey was written in response to circumstances related to the June 2014 crash of a Walmart truck into a limo van that killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan.

A subsequent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the truck driver’s fatigue played a role in the accident. Walmart driver Kevin Roper was on hour 13 of a 14-hour shift, but he had driven for 12 hours from his home in Georgia to Delaware to start his route. Roper was indicted for charges of manslaughter, vehicular homicide and aggravated assault. 

Comments on the proposed survey must be received on or before Jan. 26, 2018. Click here for more information, including how to submit comments to the docket.



  1. 1. Brian [ November 28, 2017 @ 06:58AM ]

    When is this carp going to end. Its always "lets go after the trucker". I know of people that work in professional atmospheres that travel over 100 miles one way to and from work. And it if you look at St Louis, or Chicago, theres a bunch of them. Who wants to live in the murder capitals of the world. Its cheaper to buy in the outlying areas, and just commute. Its also safer for the kids. But lets not target that, lets target the truck drivers..

  2. 2. Him [ December 01, 2017 @ 07:54AM ]

    So the answer is to force the trucking companies to build bunk houses on their property so drivers don't need to commute. And then require them to be single so Home Time and families do not suffer. Or make an arrangement with a hotel nearby to put them all up at a discount. Let's see, what other silly notion can we come up with..

  3. 3. Tiffany Thomas [ December 01, 2017 @ 11:11AM ]

    I'm sorry but I agree. No one should be driving for 2 1/2 hours or more, then go drive a 14 hour day. Thats too much! That being said, why is there no cap on commute time in a car? These people are way more tired than we are and apparently as Ohio has stated, truck drivers are not responsible for the most crashes!! Get it together and start regulating these tired, distracted, nondriving 4 wheelers! I vote for more rigorous driving tests for class E drivers and recertifications driving privileges on a yearly basis. They are oblivious and dangerous and FMCSA need to stop making more regulations for us to make up for their inexperience!!

  4. 4. Russ [ December 02, 2017 @ 08:46AM ]

    I swear these bureaucrats can't die fast enough, they just keep breathing air and cluttering up the surface of the earth. Can't they just mind there own business?

  5. 5. Michael Galorath [ December 02, 2017 @ 12:56PM ]

    We can make all the comments we want. The politicians DO NOT LISTEN to the voting people period. Now if the voting people are going to support there re-election then they listen. What needs to happen is a truck to fall out of the sky and sorry but wipe out both the senate and house and wipe out half the elected officials. Then during hearing someone my start to listen. Until then we just keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results

  6. 6. BarbRRB [ December 04, 2017 @ 06:35AM ]

    I understand the Government is all in our business telling us when and how to work and sleep. Are they going after our personal time now? I was always told, you give an inch they will take a mile. This is why I am against all these new laws. It needs to be a choice! Ow, and your survey's FMCSA are costing us taxpayers millions and the out come is as good as the information you put into it. I have seen way to many "survey's" that tell you one thing one year and the next they admit it's wrong. Stop wasting tax payers money.

  7. 7. Loi Nguyen [ January 04, 2018 @ 07:20PM ]

    A2MP: Autonomy(Being independent), Anticipation,Mastery and Purpose (To be happy):

    What good is freedom, if we are not independent (autonomy)? The issue here is public safety. A simple solution is pull over within 15 minutes when one start to yarn. Take 15-60 minuets to recharge one’s battery. Exception only apply in big city, then plan a power nap everyday out side the city traffic condition. Keep your nap consistence everyday, including off days.

    What good is your independent? If mentally you are not alert more then 80%? It only take two seconds to get kill, when one’s fall asleep on the road.

    Conclusion: Drive with the same HABITS everyday as if it’s your life style!1)Smith defensive driving system.2) Pullover for power nap(15-60mins) within 15 minutes of a yarn. 3) Take a power nap everyday at same time for 15-90mins. Even on days off.We all have 24 hours, most are day people and other are night, but logistical we still each have 24 hours, make it work.

    Keep the old paper log rules and discard ELD. This is not 1984 nor Communist China! We are not only American but the citizens model of this world!!! Truckers are the last cowboy... but these gulidlines apply to everybody and anywhere who simply drive!!!


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