Truckers still driving tired under HOS rule

March 14, 2005
A new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey indicates that drivers of interstate trucks spend more time behind the wheel under the federal hours-of-service rule that went into effect in 2004.

A new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey indicates that drivers of interstate trucks spend more time behind the wheel under the federal hours-of-service rule that went into effect in 2004.

This rule lengthens the mandatory rest period by two hours but lets drivers stay on the road an extra hour every day. A workweek restart provision increases allowable driving hours in a seven-day period from 60 to 77. A quarter of drivers who were surveyed said they drive more than the new daily limit of 11 hours. Eight of 10 drivers said they’re taking advantage of the restart provision that allows them to drive 25% more in a week.

While the drivers said their sleep time has increased under the new rule, they reported slightly more instances than the previous year (when the old work rule was in effect) of driving drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel. The reported percentage of drivers dozing at the wheel at least once in the past month rose from 13% (2003, under the old rule) to 15% (2004).

“Studies show that fatigue is a significant factor in truck crashes,” says Anne McCartt, Institute vice-president for research. “The new rule was supposed to improve safety, but our survey shows the opposite. Truckers are using the restart provision to squeeze even more driving hours into the week.”

Enforcement of work hours has long been a problem because written logbooks are easily falsified. The survey shows this hasn’t changed. About a third of drivers said they sometimes or often omit hours worked from their logbooks. A proposal to include electronic onboard recorders was dropped before the new rule went into effect.

“Without electronic recorders the rule can’t be enforced effectively,” McCartt says.

About the Author

from staff and wire reports

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...

Fleet Industry Benchmarks: How does your fleet stack up?

Discover how your fleet compares to industry benchmarks and gain insights from a 2024 Benchmarking Report on maintenance spend, turnaround time, and more. Join us to identify ...

Build a Tolling Program to Manage Toll Fees and Risks

Fleets looking to effectively manage their operational costs should consider their tolling costs. Download the PrePass whitepaper, “Build a Tolling Program to Manage Toll Fees...

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...