FMCSA wants info on truck drivers’ commuting habits

Updated Nov 29, 2017

If you drive to get to your driving job, the federal government wants to know about it.

Commuting can take a toll on drivers’ health.Commuting can take a toll on drivers’ health.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to survey commercial truck and bus drivers about their commuting habits. The agency is asking the White House Office of Management and Budget for permission to do the study, and is accepting comments from the public. If OK’d by the OMB, the online survey of some 12,000 drivers will gather details about:

  • the prevalence of excessive driver commuting in the commercial motor vehicle industry, including the number and percentage of drivers who commute
  • the distances traveled, time zones crossed, time spent commuting, and methods of transportation used
  • research on the impact of excessive commuting on safety and commercial motor vehicle driver fatigue
  • the commuting practices of commercial motor vehicle drivers and policies of motor carriers
  • the FMCSA regulations, policies, and guidance regarding excessive driver commuting

The FMCSA considers a commute of 150 minutes or more “excessive.”

According to the FMCSA, in the past two decades, “as the number of workers has increased and the distance to affordable housing has also increased in most metropolitan areas, commuting times have increased in the U.S. According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, travel delays due to traffic congestion caused drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel and kept travelers stuck in their cars for nearly 7 billion extra hours (42 hours per rush-hour commuter).”

The FMCSA says, long commutes can adversely affect drivers in several ways, including:

  • Compromising off-duty time. Long commuting times can reduce a driver’s available off-duty time for sleep and personal activities. This can lead to excessive fatigue while on duty, creating safety concerns for both the CMV driver and other drivers on the roads.
  • Impacting driver health. A recent study was conducted that monitored 4,297 adults from 12 metropolitan Texas counties. In this region, 90 percent of people commute to work. The study found that the drivers who have long commuting times were more likely to have poor cardiovascular health and be less physically fit. This study showed that people who commute long distances to work weigh more, are less physically active, and have higher blood pressure.

Comments must be received on or before Jan. 26.

You can make comments online at the federal eRulemaking Portal:

Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.