- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is expected to share results of a study with Congress that shows drivers operating under proposed changes to the 34-hour restart regulations were not any safer than drivers operating under the current standards, as reported by Commercial Carrier Journal.
- The study — conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Virginia Tech — followed 250 drivers. One group operated under 2013 regulations limiting drivers to one 34-hour restart per week which had to include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods. The other group followed current regulations without these limitations. Indicators such as alertness, health and crash rates weren't notably different between the two groups.
- DOT will now send a final report to Congress and the FMCSA will have to issue a formal notice to permanently withdraw the rules.
After these regulations were originally passed in 2013 the trucking industry pushed back on their effectiveness, as well as the fact that the morning restart period could cause more trucks to be on the road during rush hour. Congress then suspended the regulations in December 2014. At that time they said definitive health and safety benefits would have to be proven by a study for the regulations to be reinstated.
While this rule wasn't directly applicable to all commercial waste drivers, it did cause some waste companies to adjust their operating requirements and has been on the radar of multiple industry professionals. Drivers making long-distance trips to landfills or other facilities would have been the most directly affected.
Aside from a rule issued last fall that makes it easier for veterans to obtain commercial drivers licenses, many of the new rules coming from FMCSA have received a mixed reaction and may see changes under the new administration. CDL curriculum standards, electronic logging devices, sleep apnea and crash preventability data have been some of the more recent topics of interest. Figuring out whether these rules will be effective as written or what they will mean for the waste industry is often a complex process for companies that have a range of fleet operations across multiple states.