Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Hours of Service of Drivers
GAO-12-397R, Jan 27, 2012
GAO reviewed the Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) new rule on the hours of service of drivers. GAO found that (1) the final rule revises the hours of service (HOS) regulations to limit the use of the 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours and to require that anyone using the 34-hour restart provision have as part of the restart two periods that include 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. It also includes a provision that allows truckers to drive if they have had a break of at least 30 minutes, at a time of their choosing, sometime within the previous 8 hours. This rule does not include a change to the daily driving limit because FMCSA is unable to definitively demonstrate that a 10-hour limitwhich it favored in the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)would have higher net benefits than an 11-hour limit. The current 11-hour limit is, therefore, unchanged at this time. The 60- and 70-hour limits are also unchanged. The purpose of the rule is to limit the ability of drivers to work the maximum number of hours currently allowed, or close to the maximum, on a continuing basis to reduce the possibility of driver fatigue. FMCSA notes that long daily and weekly hours are associated with an increased risk of crashes and with the chronic health conditions associated with lack of sleep. These changes will affect only the small minority of drivers who regularly work the longer hours; and (2) FMCSA complied with applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.