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34-hour Restart may Negatively Impact Highway Safety

HOS rule, 34-hour restart, trucking

DON JERRELL
Associate Vice President, HNI

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) New Proposed Hours of Service 34-hour restart may result in a negative impact on safety on our highways.  Initially, the 34-hour restart with two periods between midnight and 6am looks okay, however, upon more in-depth analysis this may not be the case. 

The concept of “if I get there before midnight I can leave in 34 hours whereas if not I may not be able to leave for up to 54 hours” will result in drivers not taking breaks if they’re fatigued or driving aggressively to reach their destination.  As a result, those periods (especially on Friday nights) from 9pm to midnight will become more dangerous.  For over the road long haul companies, their 34-hour restart generally occurs on Saturday/Sunday.  The motoring public tends to leave large population areas on Friday afternoon/evenings.  Rather than taking a break and waiting for this surge of traffic to slow down, commercial motor vehicle drivers and equipment will now be in the middle of the exodus of traffic.  This will needlessly create unsafe conditions. 

Another potential byproduct of this regulation could be carriers/drivers no longer using the 34-hour restart, but going back to the 60/70 hour rule.  As a result, they will gain hours at midnight each night, resulting in their driving between midnight and 6am (which according to FMCSA and their circadian studies are the most unsafe time for drivers to be driving.)

What do you think of the New Proposed Hours of Service 34-hour restart?  How do you think it will impact drivers and the trucking industry as a whole? 

Topics: Transportation