Drivers Using New Restart ‘More Alert, Less Fatigued,’ Study Says

Study: 20% Of Crashes Caused By Sleepy Drivers

According to a press release from the FMCSA, a third-party study by Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center and Philadelphia-based Pulsar Informatics, Inc. evaluated the impact and effects of the restart provision of the current HOS.

The FMCSA stated that the, third-party study provided “further scientific evidence that the restart provision in the current hours-of-service rule for truck drivers is more effective at combatting fatigue than the prior version.”

For the study, scientists measured the sleep, reaction time, sleepiness and performance of drivers.  The scientists found that “drivers who began their work with with just one or more nighttime period of rest, as compared to the two nights in the the updated 34-hour restart break:

·         Exhibited more lapses of attention, especially at night;

·         Reported greater sleepiness, especially toward the end of their duty periods; and

·         Showed increased lane deviation in the morning, afternoon and at night.

“This new study confirms the science we used to make the hours-of-service rule more effective at preventing crashes that involve sleepy or drowsy truck drivers,” said Federal Motor Carrier Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “For the small percentage of truckers that average up to 70 hours of work a week, two nights of rest is better for their safety and the safety of everyone on the road.”

The study, said the FMCSA, is one of the “largest real-world studies” ever conducted with professional drivers. The study included 106 drivers, 1,260 days and 415,000 miles of driving.

“Working long hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers. The updated 34-hour restart, includes two nighttime periods from 1 to 5 a.m., and is intended to provide sufficient time for a driver to recuperate from cumulative fatigue if they work beyond the weekly maximum on-duty limits,” the FMCSA stated. 

To read the full study, visit http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/report/Efficacy-of-HOS-Restart-Rule-Report.pdf