December 30, 2015 9:30 AM, EST

Virginia Tech to Lead FMCSA-Funded Flexible HOS Study

Virginia Tech, along with subcontractors from Washington State and SmartDrive, has been awarded a $2.5 million contract from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to study a flexible hours-of-service safety provision that will allow longhaul truck drivers to split their required sleeper berth time into shorter periods.

Commercial truck drivers are currently required to log at least 10 consecutive off-duty hours before returning to on-duty status.

“For some time now, sleeper berth drivers have called for flexibility with the hours-of-service requirements and this study will provide the scientific foundation for FMCSA to understand what the safety benefits and impacts may be in allowing such flexibility,” said Rich Hanowski, director of the Center for Truck and Bus Safety at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “This pilot project will produce scientific data necessary to further inform FMCSA about this important safety issue that potentially affects the well-being of everyone traveling on our nation’s roads.”

The study hopes to include at least 200 longhaul truck drivers from large, medium and small carriers as well as owner-operators, who regularly use their sleeper berths. SmartDrive’s onboard video monitoring systems will collect data about driver behavior, including sleep patterns, sleepiness, roadside violations and crashes. 

“Keeping drivers and the motoring public safe is the top priority for our industry,” SmartDrive CEO Steve Mitgang said. “The onboard video monitoring system is uniquely capable of providing the insights required to understand the impact of flexible sleep schedules on driving.”