Regulations requiring truckers to be tested for sleep apnea have spread rapidly in recent years, and the movement toward highway safety took another turn last week. This time it’s an effort to keep drowsy drivers off the road—particularly those exceeding 70 hours a week.
The new rules mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) took effect July 1. The effort to reduce crashes limits the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours to ensure adequate rest.
“Safety is our highest priority,” stated U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These rules make common sense, data-driven changes to reduce truck driver fatigue and improve safety for every traveler on our highways and roads.”
Trucking companies were given 18 months to adopt the new rules. Only the most extreme schedules will be impacted and 85% of the truck driving workforce will see no changes.
“These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach,” FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said in a statement. “The result is a fair and balanced approach that will result in an estimated $280 million in savings from fewer large truck crashes and $470 million in savings from improved driver health. Most importantly, it will save lives.”
The new service hours affect drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that weigh 10,001 pounds or more, are involved in interstate or intrastate commerce to transport hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards, and some passenger carriers.
Source: Offical announcement from FMCSA