Thursday, March 25, 2010

FMCSA Hours-of-Service web cast

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration --
"The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) invites the public to participate in a series of five listening sessions in January 2010 to gather information and comments as the agency prepares a rulemaking proposal on hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for property-carrying commercial vehicle drivers. The agency wants to hear from commercial drivers, carriers, owner-operators, safety advocates, safety enforcement, researchers and others about topics such as rest and on-duty time, sleeper berth use and the effect the current hours-of-service rule has on loading and unloading times for drivers.

Hours-of-service requirements are designed to help prevent commercial vehicle-related accidents, fatalities and injuries by prescribing duty hours and rest periods for commercial drivers."

Friday March 26, 2010, 7AM pt (10 EDT) interested persons may wish to view the proceedings and submit comments at the following link below.

{Web Cast page link}

Please click on the title link for more information.

So why is this important?

The FMCSA is asking for input regarding the current system or any suggestions for improvement in order to reduce driver fatigue, reduce accidents and increase safety on the road.

a short background of the current system...

The hours of service (HOS) are the hours that truck drivers may operate a vehicle at any given time.

The HOS is divided up in to four sections.

1) Off Duty
2) Sleeper berth
3) On Duty - Driving
4) On Duty - Not driving

when a driver start their day, either by selecting option three or four, that starts the 4 hour clock. once this clock is started, nothing can stop it.

Within that 14 hours, a driver can only drive 11 hours.

At the end of 14 hours (or to reset the 14 hour clock) a driver MUST take a 10 hour break.

After 70 hours, a driver MUST take a 34 hour break known as a restart. Technically, driver must be relieved of all duties concerning the truck during that 34 hour period.

(How many jobs do you know that require you to work 14 hours a day, 70 hours a week?)

Important: once you've reached your 11 hour driving limit or at the end of your 14 hour day, it then becomes illegal to move the truck. Violating this rule can lead to a hefty fine.

Chances are, when you see a semi parked on the side of the road or overpass, more than likely, the driver ran out of hours.

Manipulating the logbook --

In order to try and extend the 70 hours available for service, some companies "suggest" to the drivers that they mis-categorized entries in their logbooks. In other words, using option 1) or 2) when it technically does not apply.

Safe Parking Issue:

H.R. 2156, or Jason's Law, which is a bill named after Jason Rivenburg, a long-haul truck driver who was murdered last year after he stopped to rest at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina. The bill would create a grant program that would help alleviate the shortage and help pay for expansion and safety improvements at existing rest areas. This includes the establishment of safe parking for commercial motor vehicles.

And a final comment,

Unlike other businesses, wage and hour laws and select OSHA regulations do not apply to the over the road truck driver.

I can give further examples... but then this blog entry would be very very long.


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