Among other factors considered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in issuing the ruling is that just 7% of large truck crashes are related to fatigue. The decision keeps in place the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations first implemented in 2003.
These HOS rules were announced in reaction to a decision by the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals that vacated key provisions of existing rules that would become effective on December 27.
The FMCSA explained that in order to make sure there was no gap in coverage of these important safety rules, it reinstated those two provisions, “while the agency gathers public comment on its actions and the underlying safety analysis before issuing a final rule.” Comments on the IFR will be accepted through February 15, 2008.
Among the facts being considered by the agency is that with the new rules in effect the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, 1.94, was the lowest ever recorded. The agency points out that in 2005 there was only one large truck involved in a fatigue-related fatal crash in the 11th hour of driving. There were none recorded in 2004.
In reaction to the FMCSA action, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s director of Regulatory Affairs, Rick Craig, is reported to say, “We agree with the agency’s decision and appreciate its efforts toward ensuring that professional truckers aren’t hamstrung by regulations that limit their discretion and unnecessarily keep them on the road, tired or not.”
As part of its analysis, the FMCSA says it is working to finalize a proposed rule to require drivers and trucking companies with serious or repeat HOS violations to track their hours through the use of electronic on-board recorders.