The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will launch two new research studies this summer on factors affecting driver safety.
According to FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro, the agency wants to determine to what extent driver compensation practices and detention time at shippers' loading and receiving docks affect drivers' ability to drive safely. Ferro made those remarks in a keynote speech April 20 at the annual Spring Forum of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' Columbus (Ohio) Roundtable.
One study will explore whether long waiting times in a parked vehicle at a shipper's dock—which as of Feb. 27 became "off-duty time" under the new driver hours-of-service rule—would contribute to driver fatigue and influence performance.
In the past, all of the time spent in a rig, other than in a sleeper berth, was considered on-duty time for drivers.
The other study would examine whether a link exists between the way drivers are compensated—either by the load or by the mile—and driver behavior behind the wheel, according to Ferro.
The two issues are intertwined, Ferro added. "If you're paid by the load and you can't deliver a load because of detention, that's a problem," she said.
"You're under constant pressure to push yourself to the limits to maximize your daily income," she said.