Friday, August 19, 2005

"New" HOS rules are out

FMCSA's Sandberg presents new HOS

"The court vacated the [2003] rule based on driver health, and driver health only," FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg said. In developing the new rule, she said FMCSA "addressed driver health issue very extensively. We believe we had the science and the data [to support the 2003 rule] to begin with. That's what we said during the court case, and the court wanted us to provide it in a more thorough manner."

Looks like the FMCSA took the "Failure to use footnotes" interpretation of the court's decision, they also slipped in the "Wal-Mart" amendment (allowing a split break to include a 2 hr off duty period, thus extending the workday to 16 hours and only requiring 8 hours of sleeper time between shifts) and exempted some local drivers from using logbooks as well as allowing these drivers two 16 hour work days a week. CORRECTION: the rule does not allow split breaking to extend the 14 hour day

Here's a great quote from the final rule:
Today's rule also creates a new regulatory regime for drivers of CMVs that do not
require a CDL, provided they operate within a 150-mile radius of their work-reporting
location. These drivers are not required to keep logbooks, though their employers must
keep accurate time records, and the driver may use a 16-hour driving window twice a
week. Driving time may not exceed the normal 1 1 hours, but the longer operational
window twice a week enables short-haul carriers to meet unusual scheduling demands.
Short-haul drivers rarely drive anything close to 11 hours, and available statistics show
that they are greatly under-represented in fatigue-related accidents. On a per-mile basis,
long-haul trucks are almost 20 times more likely to be involved in a fatigue-related crash.

One would think if you have one group of drivers that is 20x more likely than a second group have a crash because of fatigue, you'd work on lowering the risk of the more dangerous group rather than increasing the risk to the less dangerous group.

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