The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has petitioned the Office of Management and Budget to fund a study on the commuting habits of truck drivers. The FMCSA study will determine how many truck drivers spend more than two and a half hours commuting to their job before beginning their shift, and what effect this extra time has on driver safety and fatigue.
If approved, the study will survey a minimum of 500 truck drivers and bus drivers. The study will collect data on work history, schedules, rest periods and breaks taken during their shift, annual miles driven, and crash history. Researchers will focus on determining how many truck and bus drivers spend a significant amount of time behind the wheel before they even begin their driving route.
This survey is in response to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) of 2015, which mandates that the FMCSA specifically study the safety hazards associated with motor carrier operators that have commutes exceeding 150 minutes. The FAST Act requires FMCSA to determine how prevalent the excessive commute issue is among commercial drivers, what percentage of drivers commute before beginning their shift, how many miles are routinely driven, how many time zones are crossed in their commute, and what methods of transportation they use to travel.
Data collected from the survey will then be analyzed to determine what effect excessive commuting has on the safety of commercial drivers. The FMCSA will be required to report its data and analysis to Congress, so that new policies can be developed to enhance driver safety. The Department of Transportation will be influential in establishing new policies and in the enforcement of the mandates.
Electronic logging devices known as ELDs are being implemented to help fight the problem of driver fatigue. ELD mandates require drivers to log their hours behind the wheel, break times, rest periods, and the time period between continuous driving shifts. Electronic logging devices are expected to be fully mandated with penalties for non-compliance within the next few years. The FMCSA study may result in new mandates that require drivers to include their commute times in their logs.
The FMCSA reports that full implementation of ELDs will save close to 30 lives each year and prevent nearly 600 injuries caused by trucking accidents that are directly related to driver fatigue. Driver commutes may also affect the commercial driver’s hours of service limit. As more and more drivers move further outside city limits to more affordable housing available in suburban areas, commute times have increased across the United States.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, the experienced team of Cherry Hill truck accident lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 856-874-7500 or 215-557-0099 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Haddonfield, New Jersey and Philadelphia offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.