Trucking Alliance Pushes Plan to Study 34-Hour Restart

June 2, 2014

By Oliver Patton

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Data gleaned from electronic logs will produce technologically objective data, while Psychomotor Vigilance Tests will gauges the impact of fatigue on drivers' reactions.
Data gleaned from electronic logs will produce technologically objective data, while Psychomotor Vigilance Tests will gauges the impact of fatigue on drivers' reactions.

Congress is considering a plan to study the 34-hour restart provision of the hours of service rule using data collected by electronic logs.

This approach is being suggested by the Trucking Alliance and other groups to counter the effort by American Trucking Associations to have Congress cut off funds for enforcement of the restart provision.

In a letter to the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a coalition of the Alliance, safety advocates and the Teamsters union asked for language instructing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct a study comparing the current restart provision to the old restart.

The transportation subcommittee is scheduled to vote on its appropriations bill Tuesday morning. The full committee will follow on Thursday.

The study proposal would require FMCSA to publish a final electronic log rule by January 15 next year, so that researchers could use data from early adapters of the rule.

FMCSA published its proposed electronic log rule last March and is accepting comments until June 26. Then it must review those comments and make any changes before it posts the final rule.

Under the study proposal, researchers would compare the work schedules and fatigue levels of two groups of drivers, one using the new restart provision and one the old.

The new provision, which took effect in 2013, requires two periods off between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and limits use of the restart to once a week. The old one does not contain these restrictions.

The proposal calls for the study to include enough drivers to produce a statistically significant result. Researchers would measure fatigue with the Psychomotor Vigilance Test, which gauges the impact of fatigue on a person’s reactions. It also would use actigraph watches, cameras and other onboard systems that track critical safety events, as well as the log data.

The proposal also calls for an independent peer review of both the study plan and its findings.


FMCSA prefers the study to the enforcement cut-off.  The agency said in a statement that it would review the study’s findings before making any decisions about changing the restart provision.

FMCSA has always used research to guide its rulemaking process, especially with regard to the hours of service, the agency said.  

ATA says it is pushing the Appropriations Committee to cut off funding for enforcement because the restart provision cuts productivity and driver pay without improving safety. It wants the cutoff while the Government Accountability Office studies the rule.

ATA officials were not available for comment on the study proposal.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, representing the police who enforce the rule, prefers the study to ATA’s defunding option, said executive director Steve Keppler.

Defunding creates problems for the Alliance’s members by making enforcement more difficult, Keppler said. The study is a better option because it keeps the current rule in place while researchers gather data.

But even the study would add to the difficulty of enforcement, Keppler added. CVSA’s ideal solution is to keep the provision as it is now and evaluate its impact over time.

The Trucking Alliance represents a half-dozen carriers that have been lobbying Congress and FMCSA for the electronic logging mandate and other safety initiatives.

“The Trucking Alliance strongly supports this agreement language because it accomplishes two things,” said managing director Lane Kidd.

“It gets the electronic logging device rule out much more quickly than we’ve been told it would be, and it uses those newly compliant devices to actually generate data so that once and for all we will know what the hours of service rule will be.”

The Alliance members are Maverick USA, Knight Transportation, J.B. Hunt, Dupre’, Boyle Transportation and Fikes Truck Line.

They are joined in the letter by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Trauma Foundation, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Road Safe America, Parents Against Tired Truckers, the Consumer Federation of America and the Truck Safety Coalition, in addition to the Teamsters union.

They said that the restart provision should not be defunded, revised or replaced without a comprehensive study of its effectiveness.

“The current 34-hour restart provision is a reasonable measure to provide truck drivers with a traditional weekend off from work, on alternate weeks, and to address chronic, cumulative driver fatigue and other serious health conditions,” the groups say in their letter.

Using data from electronic logs “will produce technologically objective data so that everyone will finally be able to determine what the HOS rules should be,” they said.

The letter went to Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chair of the Appropriations Committee; Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Transportation Subcommittee; Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the ranking member of the full committee; and Susan Collins, the ranking member of the subcommittee.


  1. 1. joe grimm [ June 03, 2014 @ 07:58AM ]

    The groups that are not actual transportation companies are showing their naivety by signing on to this initiative.
    Drivers will most likely never get a weekend off if they are over the road. Companies will strategically have drivers "reset" throughout the weekdays rather than on a weekend. Companies will NEVER want a driver under a load having to reset on a weekend and missing a delivery appointment. The company is much better suited to sit a driver through the week, waiting for hours to reset. Once they know when a drivers hours have been reset they can book freight to accommodate exactly when that truck can be moved. Whether that be 2 o'clock in the morning and disturbing a drivers sleep is beside the point.
    It is much easier to book freight wed, thurs, fri than on a Monday or Tuesday.

    The other principal issue and this is the big one that everyone outside of the industry is ignorant toward.

    Companies will use the reset to manipulate drivers. If a driver resets away from home, that is 36hours of unpaid time that the driver needs to make up for and instead of resting and driving according to their own fatigue levels. The driver will drive to what the computer has for maximum allowable hours in a day. That computer will DICTATE when the driver has to drive in order to deliver a load on time or to arrive at the next allowable "reset".

    The 36 hour rule accompanied by EOBRs is nothing more than smoke and mirrors which has little to do with safety and driver health and much to do with companies maximising efficiency all the while absolving themselves of liability by transferring responsibility to the driver.

    If anyone thinks this will not lead to a higher level of driver fatigue and burnout......they are deluded.

    The 36 hour reset only contributes to stress in the form of lost wages and driving when one could potentially be tired.

    If this goes through the deathtolls on highways will increase due to tired drivers being "told" when they "must" drive.

  2. 2. john [ June 03, 2014 @ 06:38PM ]

    I think the 34 hour restart is fine. I do not see what is wrong with the potential to have 2 of those restarts within 8 days. It seems to me that 2 rest periods of 34 hours should be better than 1. I dispatch and I agree that a driver would be better off if he can decide when he needs his rest not a computer or DOT telling him he needs to rest. Not all drivers are created equal with respect to how long they can go without a break.

    I am a person that can operate in my work with less than 8 hours of sleep and be very effective. Some need 10 hours of rest but others will be bored and find something to occupy there time.

    How would you like to be told you need to take a nap at 3 Pm in the afternoon and be off until 1 Am and then be expected to drive 5 to 11 hours to get to destination. Or worse yet when you get done with your 10 hour break you drive 2 hours to deliver a load and receiver takes 3 hours to unload. Now 6 Am. Then you wait for your reload to be ready say 10 Am and assuming a good shipper he gets you loaded in an hour . Now your day started at 1 AM. it is now 11 Am and you have drove 2 hours. Now by 3 Pm you must be done for the day. This gives you a day where you have succeeded in earning pay for a maximum 6 hours of driving. based on 60 MPH you may have drove 360 miles. At say 35 cpm 126.00 versus a normal day say 600 miles which would be $210.00 If you lose that 84.00 twice a week while loading and unloading and then take that over 50 weeks (2 weeks vacation) that is a decrease of 4200.00 over the year. Worse yet you are again needing to start your work day during middle of the night to get your full hours and delivery made on time.

  3. 3. john [ June 04, 2014 @ 06:51AM ]

    Sorry. Should be $8400 over the year. twice a week I only figured 1 day of loading unloading in 1st response. 84*2*50=8400 that is if all shippers and receivers are good and quick and reload is ready that early.. Most often that is not the case. Then you have to try to force detention upon those shippers/receivers. Sometimes works not always. Some require 2,3 even 4 hours before they will pay detention. Some (especially produce shippers) will not normally pay detention and they are the ones that take the longest.

  4. 4. Brian Loysen [ June 05, 2014 @ 05:54AM ]

    Here we go again.....more and more regulations designed to bring the evil driver and carrier in line while COMPLETELY IGNORING the fact that shippers, receivers, and brokers account for a majority of unpaid wait time that drivers have been expected to suck up.
    This narrative of drivers willfully ignoring rules to get their greedy hands on some paltry extra revenue is nothing compared to the people in this industry that profit off the backs of truckers and carriers with little to no liability.
    And the governments response to everything is to bring the drivers in line and NOT the industry. 4 hours of free time given if you go into a tell me how that is acceptable that you can be expected to give up nearly 40 % of your driving hours to sit because a receiver doesn't have to be organized in their unloading process?
    Drivers are not coming into this industry...why bother? The regulations of a hospital and the pay of a fast food worker....


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