Regulatory Burdens

Regulatory Burdens

The 100-year history of work hours and fatigue regulation, often based on outdated prescriptive rules, has been a burden for 24/7 businesses. Even worse, they often fail to address the underlying causes of employee fatigue they were intended to prevent. CIRCADIAN® is an expert at devising creative and scientifically based strategies to support applications for waivers and exemptions.

Hours of Service

U.S. trucking hours of service regulations have been a political and legal football over the past four years with multiple federal agency and court-ordered revisions. CIRCADIAN® helps companies steer around the debris and gain exemptions based on sound science and risk management practices.

The US Hours of Service (HoS) regulations for heavy truck drivers have gone through a period of rapid change in the past several years driven by a court-order and regulatory agency initiatives. Despite the best intentions of the FMCSA, a recent consensus study CIRCADIAN® conducted with sleep experts and experienced truck drivers in collaboration with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) showed that the latest split-sleep rules, and the 14-hour clock, had undesired effects on driver sleep, alertness, and fatigue.

The prospect of these rules being implemented with electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) and more rigorous HoS enforcement, has left trucking companies urgently needing help in resolving the truck driver’s paradox:

  • Should drivers comply with the strict HoS regulations which define when they should sleep even if that leaves them fatigued?
  • Or should drivers do what they know is safe? -- That is, sleep when their body needs it and when superior quality sleep can be obtained, and therefore risk a HoS violation.

FMSCA is anxious to promote the introduction of safety technologies and innovative approaches in trucking companies. But advice is needed on the most effective approach, whether it be fatigue management programs, exemptions from HoS 14-hour clock and split sleep rules, or other safety technologies.


The Family and Medical Leave Act has created an opportunity for absenteeism abuse which can be very costly and disruptive unless this issue is carefully managed. CIRCADIAN® is expert at routing out the causes of excess absenteeism and keeping the costs at bay.

Absenteeism has always been higher in 24/7 and shiftwork operations. As CIRCADIAN®’s Shiftwork Practices report shows, the average annual cost of absenteeism is $3,072 per shiftworker as compared to $970 for daytime workers. The problems of fatigue, irregular hours, and lack of access to services increase the probability that an employee will call in sick or be otherwise absent.

A new mechanism which can trigger excess absenteeism in the USA is the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. Several court rulings have expanded the protections to shiftworking employees under this act.

Work Hours Arbitration & Litigation

CIRCADIAN®’s unparalleled expertise in work hours, overtime risk, and fatigue provides the needed authoritative scientifically expert opinion and testimony to resolve complex working hours challenges.

Business and industry are burdened by a thicket of outdated Federal and State regulations and statutes on Hours of Service, Duty-Rest Rules, Working Time Directives, Extended Work Hours and Overtime, often dating from the early 1900s when business conditions were vastly different.

Both the science of human fatigue, and the technology of business practices in a 24/7 global economy have advanced considerably, making many of these laws and regulations redundant, so that they add costs and restrict business flexibility, but do little to legitimately promote employee safety, health, and welfare. Today, human fatigue is at the crux of almost any discussion involving work hours litigation.

Even recently introduced work hours regulations may include cumbersome, “one size fits all” rules that do not reflect the operational issues of specific businesses, or the current science of human fatigue. There are often considerable differences between the distinct types of business and logistics operations within the same industry, but all are governed by the same law or regulation. As a result, employees may find themselves faced by the impossible choice of operating either illegally and safe, or legally but unsafe.

  • You are defending a lawsuit where work hours (i.e., Hours of Service, Duty-Rest Rules, Working Time Directives, Extended Work Hours and Overtime) are at issue
  • An employee is making a workers’ compensation claim based on working hours


CIRCADIAN® Expert Services has world-class scientific expertise on human performance factors and fatigue. We intimately understand the realities of extended hours operations in transportation (road, rail, marine, air) and other 24/7 businesses (utilities, chemical, oil, manufacturing, communications). We have an outstanding track record in North America and Europe. We support:

  • Discovery phase consultation, ensuring the best possible materials to allege or dispute a claim involving work hours

  • Offer critique of opposing expert witness testimony on extended work hours and overtime issues

  • Consulting and expert witness testimony in lawsuits in Federal and State court

  • Appeals and Hearings before administrative tribunals

  • Providing expert witness testimony in government hearings on Regulatory Reform

  • Expert witness support in mediations and negotiations

How CIRCADIAN® can help you

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  • Hours of Service Exemptions. CIRCADIAN®  is expert in helping trucking companies develop and submit to the FMCSA and support Hours of Service exemptions. We assist with every step of the process, provide the important scientific validation and technical support, and help exemptions become fully implemented once granted.
  • CAS Driver Fatigue Risk Management Software. The most powerful validated tool in the trucking industry. The risk associated with each driver and each dispatch is continuously updated so you can actively plan to reduce accidents, errors, and driver fatigue.
  • Education and Training Programs. Train-the-trainer programs, Managing a Shiftwork Lifestyle programs, web tools and educational materials which bring the latest understanding of fatigue prevention and safety adherence to every driver.
  • Fatigue Risk Management Programs. Address all the causes of driver fatigue in a program embedded in your operations and your culture.
  • Shiftwork Opportunity Assessment. CIRCADIAN®’s experts can help you evaluate the issues that are leading to potential abuses of FMLA or other causes of excess employee absenteeism and chart out an effective program to address the root causes of the problem.
  • Management Reports. CIRCADIAN®  publishes management reports which clarify the issues and the approaches to managing these problems.
  • Expert Testimony. CIRCADIAN®  can provide expert research-based testimony and expert scientific opinions for clients who are litigating these issues

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