DOT IG Initiates Audit of the Suspended HOS Restart Rule

In order to alleviate driver fatigue, FMCSA issues hours-of-service regulations to establish daily and weekly driving limits and required periods of rest for commercial vehicle drivers. Effective 2013, FMCSA’s new hours-of-service regulations required drivers to comply with a revised 34-hour restart rule to reset the weekly driving limit. The revised rule required a driver to be off-duty for 34 consecutive hours, which must include two 1 a.m. – 5 a.m. periods.

After the rule went into effect, concerns were raised about the rule’s unintended consequences, such as increased congestion during the daytime traffic hours. In the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 (the act), Congress suspended FMCSA’s enforcement of the 34-hour restart rule so that the Agency can conduct a study of the operational, safety, health, and fatigue impacts of the rule. The act also requires the Department to submit a final report on the restart study to the Office of Inspector General. Within 60 days of receipt of the final report, the DOT IG must report to the Secretary and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on whether the study complies with the act.

Accordingly, the audit objective is to determine whether FMCSA’s design and implementation of the restart study complies with the requirements of the act.