ATA challenges need for hours proposal

| November 18, 2011

The American Trucking Associations in a letter this week questioned whether “legitimate reason” exists to change the current hours-of-service rules.

Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer, Nov. 15 wrote Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget. Graves pointed to newly available data about the trucking industry’s safety performance, as well as the underlying science used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation to alter the 34-hour restart provision of the rules.

“This data, in terms of both numbers and rates, is overwhelmingly positive, is a clear indication how well trucking is performing while operating under the current HOS rules, and further demonstrates FMCSA has no evidence of a safety problem with the current rules,” Graves said of the “2009 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts,” which showed historic low levels of truck crashes.

Graves asked OMB to review the data “as you decide whether FMCSA and DOT have any legitimate reason to issue a new rule with significant public policy changes.” The letter also draws Sunstein’s attention to the “findings” and “recommendations” used by FMCSA and DOT to craft their proposed changes to the 34-hour restart. ATA says those findings come from a single study that the researchers themselves said was not enough to answer all the questions surrounding the rule’s effect on safety.

“An objective read makes clear that this single study is insufficient to justify a policy change,” Graves said.

The FMCSA is expected to issue a final rule by the end of November.