FMCSA Initiates Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Restart Study



In the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, Congress directed FMCSA to conduct a commercial truck driver restart study. 

In this study, FMCSA will compare five-month driver work schedules and assess operator fatigue and safety critical events (SCEs) between the following two groups:

  • CMV drivers who operate under the hours of service (HOS) restart provisions in effect between July 1, 2013, and December 15, 2014.
  • CMV drivers who operate under the provisions as in effect on June 30, 2013.

Purpose of Study 

The Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver Restart Study is designed to measure and compare the fatigue and safety performance levels of truck drivers who take two nighttime rest periods during their 34-hour restart break and those drivers who use less than two nighttime rest periods during their restart break.

Study Overview                                                      

The study will compare five-month work schedules and will assess SCEs (e.g., crashes, near-crashes, and crash-relevant conflicts), operator fatigue/alertness, and short-term health outcomes of the two groups of CMV drivers. The sample of drivers, which will be large enough to produce statistically significant results, will include drivers from small, medium, and large fleets across a variety of operations (long-haul, short-haul, and regional). The study will also include different sectors of the industry such as flat-bed, refrigerated, tank, and dry-van.

Safety critical events, driver fatigue/levels of alertness, and driver health outcomes will be evaluated using:

  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) (which track drivers' time on duty).
  • The Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) (which measures alertness).
  • Actigraph watches (which assess sleep).
  • Onboard monitoring systems and/or cameras that record or measure SCEs and driver alertness.
  • The Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS) (which measures drivers' assessment of sleepiness).


The project will include the development of an initial study plan and final report, each of which shall be subject to an independent peer review panel of individuals with relevant medical and scientific expertise. As part of this study, the Secretary will submit a plan outlining the scope and methodology to the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General.


For more information, contact Martin Walker of FMCSA's Research Division at 202-385-2364 or

Driver safety is an important factor for fleet of various operations and transportation sectors. A recent safety study on law enforcement fleet provides safety considerations useful for reducing roadside crashes, implementing training and instituting policies that protect law enforcement personnel. 

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Steven Bojan is the Vice President - Fleet Risk Services for the Risk Services Division HUB International. To reach Steven or a local HUB risk services expert click here