Tag Archives: hours of service

Opposition to DOT’s attempts to prevent driver fatigue get tiresome. Take a tip from FAA pilot rules.

It sure would be refreshing to find that there was no more opposition to finding the best solution for truck driver fatigue–instead of a continuous battle to get this right. Maybe they should take a tip from the airline industry.

Thanks to federal regulations, pilots never fly more than nine hours at a time, always have backup “relief pilots” and designated beds on long flights, and have limits on the number of weekly hours they can work. This means pilots are among the best-rested people working in commercial transportation — certainly more so than truck drivers, for instance — and rarely deal with the issue of drowsy or sleep-deprived performance. 

The Federal Aviation Administration announced a sweeping overhaul of pilot scheduling rules in 2011 in order to ensure that pilots have more time for rest before they enter the cockpit. Among other changes, the minimum mandatory downtime between flights was increased from eight hours to ten hours. One Reason Airplanes Are Far Safer Than Buses and Trucks

When will we get this right?


“Fatigue and the criminal law.”

Should Driving While Fatigued be considered RECKLESS or NEGLIGENT when a person is driving an 80,000 lbs. death machine? Not a new question. Deserves an answer.

“Fatigue is an increasingly recognised risk factor for transportation accidents. In light of this, there is the question of whether driving whilst fatigued should be a criminal offence. This paper discusses the current legal position, including the problems of voluntary conduct and self awareness. Three models for reform are proposed. The manner in which scientific research can inform legal consideration and future directions for research are discussed.”

Ind Health. 2005 Jan;43(1):63-70.


Other related studies:

  1. “Fell asleep and caused a fatal head-on crash? A case study of multidisciplinary in-depth analysis vs. the court. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19214881
  2. “Convicted of fatigued driving: who, why and how? ”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19540978
  3. “[Tiredness and sleepiness in bus drivers and road accidents in Peru: a quantitative study].”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15333261
  4. “Modern medicine is neglecting road traffic crashes. ” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23776413
  5. “Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk: systematic review of observational studies and meta-analysis.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22323502
  6. “Psychomotor vigilance testing of professional drivers in the occupational health clinic: a potential objective screen for daytime sleepiness.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21826029
  7. “Visual vigilance in drivers with obstructive sleep apnea.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19616141

If a truck driver is prone to drive drowsy, what is the logical strategy to make him/her a safer driver? Forbid driving commercially? Require technology to alert to sleepiness? Convict of a reckless criminal offense if not used and a crash results leading to death or serious injury?

What Hours of Service (HOS) rules would make the most sense?

And ENFORCEMENT is oh so very important. In our crash, the Crash Report said, “No Medical Card found.” Yet, was any further mention made of this or investigation done into this? Not that I am aware of.

Driving While Fatigued = DWF = A Public Health Problem


FMCSA Finally Releases the Electronic Logging Devices Rule To Track Trucker Hours

We are excited to see that the FMCSA has released the final rule for Electronic Logging Devices designed to keep better track of truckers’ driving hours and to reduce truck driver fatigue.

After our truck crash on May 4, 2013, for which we never saw the truck driver’s paper log books, we are very happy about this. We never found out for sure why the truck driver who hit us was unable to slow down with the rest of the traffic–which was stopped for another crash two miles ahead of us. But we suspect that fatigue –drowsy driving — may well have played a part.

DWF = Driving While Fatigued

Here is the press release: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/electronic-logging-devices-be-required-across-commercial-truck-and-bus-industries

and some articles:

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We are thankful that FMCSA has taken this important step to protect travelers on the road. We hope that it will also be followed by the best possible Hours of Service rules and better wage compensation for truck drivers who work hard to deliver the goods.

Thank you to everyone who signed the AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition which we delivered to DOT on May 5, 2014. One of the three requests in that petition was for Electronic Logging Devices to be implemented.

Red Herrings & Rabbit Trails; Profit vs Safety

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Let me make this very simple. It has become very apparent to me–after losing my daughters in a truck crash–that those who oppose positive changes which will improve safety on the roads [i.e, cause less people to be injured or killed as victims of a truck crash] tend to use red herrings & rabbit trails to divert the attention from the really vital issues.

Examples. . .

  • Regarding the Hours of Service 34-Hour Restart rules requiring two consecutive sleep periods between 1 and 5 a.m… they claim that their concern is for people on the roads. According to Senator Deb Fischer, “In addition, serious concerns were raised about the rule’s perverse impact on safety because, in effect, it pushed drivers onto the roads during workers, students, and families’ morning commutes.”  http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=37567&t=Sen-Deb-Fischer-to-Offer-FMCSA-Reform-Legislation
  • But look at what industry representatives were writing about back in January 2013— before the change in the HOS even took place:”Associations such as NASSTRAC are gearing up for another busy year. Several key legislative matters, including the most recent Hours-of-Service rules and concerns over tolling policies, are still being decided.‘One critical issue that may have a negative impact on transportation and supply chain strategies is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) decision to revise the current hours-of-service rules for commercial truck drivers, which were adopted in December 2011,’ Everett says.The new rules—which require full compliance by July 1, 2013—retain the current 11-hour daily driving limit, but require drivers to take at least one half-hour break during eight hours. They also change the restart provisions, and mandate that a driver must have two consecutive rest periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. before resuming driving.This change could reduce capacity by as much as seven to nine percent, according to some truckload carriers,‘ Everett says.”  http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/transportation-advocacy-shippers-stand-up-for-their-rights/
  • Take note of the industry perspective reflected here:”‘Legislators are currently considering and implementing laws and regulations that many transportation experts fear will significantly erode productivity—particularly in trucking—and could increase the delivered cost of goods by up to 15 percent annually,’ adds Brian Everett, executive director of the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC).’It’s important that transportation and supply chain executives remain educated on the ‘what-ifs’ of decisions coming out of Washington in order to adequately plan and execute their supply chain strategies,’ he says. ‘As they continue to educate themselves, they also need to educate legislators on the impact their decisions will have on supply chains nationwide.'”
  • Another Red Herring is bringing up the statistic that the number of crashes which need more than the current minimum liability insurance amount is only 1%. If that is true, then surely underwriters will not be writing policies with premiums which are inappropriate or exponentially-increased. 
  • Refusing to raise a limit because such a small percentage reach the limit has only indicates that the increase in cost should be minimal. It can’t be both ways, either this increase should raise the cost of doing business or the effect should be minimal. This isn’t life insurance where all the money is always paid out. Nor is this homeowner’s insurance in which you have a set amount of house that can be destroyed. This is liability insurance in which the amount paid out is based on the amount of damage being done. If such a small percentage of claims reaches the limit then greedy lawyers, increased costs, and mythical “windfall” payments are all proven absurd or irrelevant.

    What we actually have here is discrimination against the minority. “You are so small a portion of the people we harm we are not obliged to deal with you fairly.”  Under such logic, they might as well suggest that they shouldn’t be compelled to have insurance at all.


  • Look at what Senator Daines said about this at the Surface Transportation subcommittee hearing yesterday. “Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., struck back on increasing the insurance requirements, underscoring that less than 1 percent of all crashes exceed the current amounts.’The only ones who will benefit from increasing the insurance amounts are trial lawyers, Daines said.” – See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=28601#.VPhxZ_zF-Sp


  • Does he think so little of all the victims and their needs that he completely overlooks the benefit to them? If he is concerned about the lawyers, let him work on tort reform and cap their amount; don’t prevent victims from being appropriately compensated. Furthermore, he overlooks the fact that the minimum has not been raised for 35 years despite the fact that the Secretary of Transportation has already been given the authority to do so.
  • Look at what happened to this issue last June:  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/06/fact-sheet-on-the-daines-amendment-to-halt-minimum-liability-insurance-for-truckers/
  •  The FMCSA concluded in a recent report to Congress that current minimum financial responsibility limits for the commercial motor vehicle industry — including the $750,000 limit for general freight carriers— are inadequate to meet the costs of some crashes, mainly because of rising medical costs.The regulatory agency stopped short of recommending specific new limits but could have a proposal by the end of June and new limits could be published in November.”


The Trucking Alliance Speaks Out on Hours of Service Rules

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The Trucking Alliance, in October 2014, made a statement about truck drivers’ hours of service rules which included the following: 

“The stark reality is that until there’s a way to verify industry compliance it doesn’t matter what the federal government’s hours of service rules are for truck drivers, because truck drivers can simply ignore these federal rules. *

They can choose to drive as many hours as they want to drive, and they do every day, because truck drivers are only required to fill out a paper logbook, writing down their driving time, and paper logbooks are easily falsified.

Enforcement of these federal hours of service rules relies on state commercial vehicle safety agencies to conduct roadside reviews and audits. While these agencies perform well, they are largely underfunded and undermanned to assure the public that truck drivers are obeying the law.

So nobody really knows who is and who is not following these federal hours of service rules because paper logbooks easily allow truck drivers to exceed their maximum number of hours behind the wheel.

That’s why the Alliance prefers a deliberate process in which a 2012 congressional mandate is accelerated to require electronic logging devices in all commercial trucks.Congress actually passed this legislation in its last transportation reauthorization bill, called MAP-21, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is almost two years behind schedule in implementing this critically important law, a measure that will truly improve highway safety. Every effort should be made to urge the Department of Transportation to accelerate the timeframe for implementing the electronic logging device law, sooner than later.

These electronic logging devices will record driving data that won’t lie. Technology will assure compliance with current rules and also provide objective data to determine how many hours of driving time for truck drivers should be allowed.

Additionally, the Alliance believes that other safety measures can do as much to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial truck drivers and motorists as these hours of service rules. For example, we support another congressional mandate passed in 2012 – to create a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse, which will help identify people who have previously tested positive on a drug and alcohol exam to become a truck driver, as well as related legislation now pending before Congress that will recognize even more effective methods to identify lifestyle drug abusers and keep them out of trucks.

The Alliance also supports speed governors on commercial trucks, an increase in the minimum insurance level for trucking companies and incentives to adopt other commercial safety technologies to reduce accidents on our nation’s highways. These measures will help ensure fewer accidents and safer highways for all Americans.”

Lane Chandler Kidd, Managing Director

October 16, 2014


* We addressed these issues as they related to our crash in a previous post:  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/08/law-enforcement-with-justice-for-all-balancing-truth-love/

Also, here is an update on Electronic Logging Devices from September 2014:  http://annaleahmary.com/2014/09/update-on-electronic-logging-devices/


Battle Over Trucker 34-hour Restart Rule is Over–For Now

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The Senate voted on Saturday evening and passed the Omnibus Bill which included Senator Collins’ rider to rollback trucking Hours of Service rules related to the 34-hour restart rule.

Read more here from the Truck Safety Coalition: https://www.facebook.com/trucksafetycoalition/posts/966491546711789

Bloomberg News reports on this issue as well: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-15/maine-senator-is-again-friend-to-trucking-as-rule-eased.html

A previous post spells out the facts of Senator Collins’ rider: http://annaleahmary.com/2014/12/urgent-express-your-opposition-to-longer-hours-for-truck-drivers/


Truck Crash Moment: A truck driver’s actions forever divided time into Before & After

AnnaLeah and Mary Mary & AnnaLeah Before

IMG_4464Truck Crash Moment

headstoneAnnaleah  & Mary After

Tug of War Over Trucker Hours of Service; It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over

The Truck Safety game 001

YOU CAN HELP in the tug of war in the battle over trucker hours of service regulations.

The Omnibus bill passed the House on Thursday evening by a 219-206 vote. Last night, several truck safety leaders took to the floor of the Senate and spoke about truck driver fatigue, the hours of service (HOS) rule and the dangers of the Collins Rider. Senators Booker and Blumenthal were passionate in their defense of the HOS rule and our families’ right to safety. The night ended with the Senate passing a two-day extension to vote on the bill.

Please join Senators Booker and Blumenthal and let your Senators know that these anti-safety riders are bad for roadway safety and bad for our families! TAKE action now:

Please contact your Senators ASAP and tell them, “We’re tired of Congress putting trucking industry profits ahead of public safety. VOTE NO on the Omnibus Spending Bill!”

You can find the contact information for your Senators here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

OR call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator’s office.


Before & After Photos

A Mother’s Letter In Response To Senator Collins’ Deadly And Dangerous Provision To Increase Working Hours For Truck Drivers

Here is a letter written by another mother who lost her son due to a truck crash. She does not pull any punches when asking her senator why she only responds to the needs of the trucking industry and not the families of victims.



URGENT: Express Your Opposition to Longer Hours for Truck Drivers


THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS FROM THE Truck Safety Coalition (December 4, 2014). . .

Right now, Appropriations Committee Leaders are deliberating over whether to include a provision to increase truck driver weekly work hours from 70 to 82 hours, and reduce their rest time, each week. This provision was originally introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) as an amendment. We sent out an action alert this morning asking you to reach out to Appropriations Committee Leaders to express your opposition to longer hours and less rest for truck drivers. Please call all if you can, but if you are limited on time, please reach out to as many as possible. I have attached their contact information at the end of this email. Each call should only take a few minutes and I have included talking points below:

Talking Points:

  1. According to the U.S. DOT, in 2012, each day, on average, 11 people died in truck crashes and 200 more were injured.
  2. Truck driver fatigue has been recognized as a major safety concern and a contributing factor to fatal truck crashes for over 70 years.
  3. FMCSA studies have shown that 65 percent of truck drivers report that they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half of truck drivers admit that they had actually fallen asleep while driving in the previous year.
  4. Truck driving is consistently listed as one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S. In 2011, fatalities among large truck occupants increased 20 percent, and by another 9 percent in 2012.

The Collins Amendment would weaken the HOS rule and:

  • Dramatically increase the allowable working hours of truck drivers from the current average of about 70 hours a week to more than 80 hours a week. This is equivalent to adding an additional work day to the work week of a truck driver.
  • Allow shippers and supervisors to once again push drivers to work an average work week of up to 82 hours every week. This is double the normal work week of the average American worker and without any overtime pay or compensation.

The current HOS rule will:

  • Prevent approximately 1,400 crashes each year – saving 19 lives and avoiding 560 injuries;
  • Provide $280 million in annual savings from fewer crashes and $470 million in annual savings from improved driver health (i.e., reduced mortality).

The current HOS rule DOES NOT:

  • Restrict a driver from driving at night. In fact, the current rule places no restrictions on when a truck driver must drive. Unless a driver is absolutely maxing out their driving time and trying to drive more than the 60 or 70 hours currently permitted, there is also no restriction on when they have to take a break.
  • Moreover, the rule does not specify when that driver must go back on the road after the break. Add More Trucks to the road. Changes to the requirements for rest periods do not have any effect on the amount of freight shipped.
  • A recent survey conducted by Lake Research Partners shows an overwhelming majority of the American public is aware of the dangers of truck driver fatigue and rationally opposes legislative efforts to increase truck driver working hours. This opposition is broad, spanning all demographic, geographic and political groups.


  • has strong bipartisan support;
  • is strong in all regions of the country; and,
  • is strong across gender, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Thank you for all your work. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Senate Leaders: Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) brigid_houton@appropriations.senate.gov    202-224-4654

Appropriations Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) jay_dunn@shelby.senate.gov    202-224-5744

Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) carrie_gage@murray.senate.gov      202-224-2621

House Leaders:

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rodgers (R-KY) shannon.rickett@mail.house.gov                  202-225-4601

Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) drew.jacoby@mail.house.gov         202-225-6506

Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham (R-IA) doug.bobbitt@mail.house.gov    202-225-5476

Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Ranking Member Ed Pastor (D-AZ) doug.gascon@mail.house.gov    202-225-4065