Truck drivers must adhere to many rules of service regulations which are designed to ensure that drivers do not drive fatigued. One of the basic concepts of the hours of service regulations has to do with the restart period, which refers to the start of a new on-duty cycle. After a truck driver has taken 34 consecutive hours off-duty or more, he or she can restart the on-duty cycle. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed changes to the restart cycle – and the trucking industry does not agree with the changes.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, research has shown that it would be beneficial to mandate two rest periods (each between midnight and 6 am) during the 34-hour restart rest period. The research is based on a study from Washington State University.
The study was conducted in two parts and overseen by Gregory Belenky and Hans Van Dongen of the Sleep and Performance Research Center. The first part concluded that the current 34-hour restart gives does not adequately allow nighttime drivers to rest before starting on duty again. The second part of the study found that the rest break of the restart period was more effective when nighttime sleep was mandated. This study led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to make its proposed changes to the restart period.
However, the American Trucking Association (ATA) objects to the proposal, stating that the studies may not be accurate. Among the issues at hand, according to the ATA is that the second part of the study has not yet been reviewed. As well, the study sample of the second part included just 12 people, none of them truck drivers. Even the study’s authors, notes the ATA, believe that more study is warranted.
The FMCSA and the authors of the study have defended the findings, arguing that the study was done under carefully controlled conditions and the findings – as well as the proposal that comes from them – could help prevent truck accidents and car accidents.
However, could Florida truck accidents be prevented by this change in the restart period. It is true that driver fatigue has been linked to many Florida car accidents involving trucks. As well, truck drivers work long and irregular hours, which can help contribute to driver fatigue and unsafe driving. Further studies could help us understand more about the best ways to ensure drivers get a safe amount of rest.
If you have been injured in a Florida truck accident, rely on the legal team at the Flaxman Law Group to help. With offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood, the Flaxman Law Group has helped thousands of Florida accident victims across the region. With well-honed negotiating skills, extensive trial experience, and a compassionate and personalized approach to every case, the Flaxman Law Group is ready to help. Call the Flaxman Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation to get answers about your case.