DOT OIG to audit hours-of-service restart study

Truck driver

Washington – The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General has notified the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that it will audit an upcoming study regarding restart rules for commercial truck drivers.

Congress is awaiting the study after suspending a rule in which truckers were required to take a 34-hour rest period, including a pair of breaks between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., at least once a week. The restart provision was intended to prevent fatigued driving among truckers, but critics said it created safety concerns by putting trucks on busy highways during the morning rush hour.

Last year, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) called for the 34-hour restart provision to be suspended pending further research. Congress included the suspension in its $1.1 trillion spending bill on Dec. 13, and President Barack Obama signed it into law three days later.

FMCSA’s study marks the next step. The agency will review the rule’s effect on truckers in terms of operation, safety, health and fatigue. That report will go to DOT OIG, which then will advise the House and Senate Appropriations Committees about whether the design and implementation of the restart study complies with the request by Congress.