Ahead of the publication of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed rule that will likely amend the current hours-of-service rules for commercial drivers, the American Trucking Associations has issued a white paper and launched an accompanying website highlighting the successes of the current HOS regulations.
ATA expects the proposed rule – which is at the White House Office of Management and Budget for review – to reduce driving time, require a rest period for each shift and increase the restart period before a driver can go back on-duty. In its white paper, ATA maintains the industry has operated safely under the current HOS rules that went into effect seven years ago. Since that time, truck-involved crash fatalities have fallen 33 percent, and truck-involved crash injuries have dropped significantly.
The association is calling for retention of current rules with the exception of greater flexibility in the sleeper berth rule. “When viewed against that sterling safety record, it seems plain that the Department of Transportation’s willingness to reconsider the HOS rules has almost everything to do with politics and little or nothing to do with highway safety,” ATA said.
The white paper charges that reduction of driving time and major changes to the restart provision could cost the industry $2.25 billion annually. In addition, ATA maintains such changes will require the use of more inexperienced drivers, which will likely increase accident rates.