A recent analysis conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has found flaws in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) study concerning the efficacy of the federal agency’s new 34-hour restart rule.
The rule, which is designed to help reduce fatigue among truck drivers in order to prevent accidents, has been controversial since its announcement, particularly in light of the considerable number of new regulations the agency has announced in the past two years, a total of 29 new rules governing how truckers have to operate. The FMCSA had used the study in order to show that the 34-hour restart rule significantly decreased reported fatigue and led to better lane positioning.
However, ATRI has documented a considerable number of design flaws in the study, including problems such as failing to differentiate between drivers who had taken a 34-hour restart and those who had been off duty for longer periods of time; findings that the average lane deviation was only 1/10th of a centimeter greater for drivers in the non-34-hour restart group; and a sample size which may have been too small to offer meaningful insight. Though the FMCSA has disputed these findings, controversy over the rule is likely to continue.
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