FMCSA’s Ferro defends hours rule, says agency won’t undo it

| November 21, 2013

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on the hours-of-service hearing held Nov. 21 by the House’s Small Business Subcommittee. Click here to see Part 2, which covers the testimony and questioning of an owner-operator, fleet managers and a researcher from Penn State.

11.21.2013_HannaFerro

Rep. Richard Hanna, chairman of the House’s Small Business Subcommittee, took FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro (right) to task in a hearing Nov. 21 on trucking’s hours-of-service regulations. Here, the two talk after the hearing.

Administrator Anne Ferro persistently defended her Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service rule Nov. 21 in a House subcommittee hearing, saying she is not open to repealing the regulations. “No, absolutely not,” she said when asked by subcommittee chairman Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) whether she would be open to undoing the rule.

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Members of the House’s Small Business Subcommittee didn’t pull any punches in questioning the administrator, who testified before the panel of congresspersons at a hearing dubbed “Wrong Way: The Impact of FMCSA’s Hours of Service Regulation on Small Businesses,” an oversight hearing organized to question the agency’s data and methodology and the perceived benefits relative to the knock in driver wages and fleet productivity the industry says it is incurring.

The rule, Ferro said, “is a solid rule. It’s been upheld by the court. It’s based on sound research,” she said.

As the committee name denotes, the hearing — in addition to questioning the agency’s methodology — was held to measure the effects the new hours provisions have on small businesses in America, said Hanna in his statement opening the event. Small trucking companies obviously are included in that measure, he said, but “nearly every type of small business in our country” utilizes trucking to makes its operation tick.

The hearing also provided a public evidence gathering for Hanna’s TRUE Safety Act bill, which he and two other congressmen introduced in the House last month. The bill would undo the hours rule change until the Government Accountability Office could study FMCSA’s methodology further.

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A full 65 percent of the 4,000 truck drivers surveyed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the new hours of service rules have caused them to receive less income, while 46 percent report feeling more fatigued since the new rules took effect.

Hanna and Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) — both co-sponsors of the TRUE Safety Act — were the most pointed of the subcommittee members, continually trying to point out both the widespread and detrimental effects the trucking industry says it’s experiencing due to the rule changes and pressing Ferro on the quality of the data the agency used to make the rule and the reason she and the agency  moved forward with the rule without having completed a field study.

Hanna said FMCSA has acted “arrogantly and insensitively” by moving forward with the rule without first performing and using the field study required by the MAP-21 highway funding act passed last summer. The agency, he said, “rushed into” creating a rule that “is inflicting pain on people,” citing American Transportation Research Institute data, which noted the rule will cost the industry $376 million annually and will cost drivers an aggregate $1.6 billion in wages each year.

“What do you say to somebody actually in the business, who didn’t spend two days in a truck but spent a lifetime in a truck, when she (a constituent) says the 1 to 5 a.m. has taken away quality of life, reduced productivity as well as disruption of the drivers’ normal sleep schedules?” Hanna asked. “And yet you’re supposed to be a data-driven organization.”

Ferro said the agency did not rush the rule, and that the hours provisions deserve discussion, because they affect both the lives of drivers and their businesses themselves. However, she said, she stands by the rule and its methodology. “[The rule] absolutely is data-based, research-based, fully vetted, [with an] unprecedented level of transparency throughout the development of this rule process,” she said. “So in terms of being either theory-based or philosophy or arrogant, we have been as open…”

Hanna cut Ferro off there to ask her “How she could say that” when she hasn’t completed the field study or taken into account the change of driver workload and has in effect pushed drivers “into hours that are more” congested. “Why is the agency so numb to the industry?” he said.

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Ferro refuted that point as well, saying the industry has a great sensitivity for those in the industry, including drivers, and how the rule impacts them. As an aside to that point, she argued on a point of driver advocacy, saying Congress needs to address the issue of detention time and, more importantly, the lack of compensation for drivers when held for hours waiting to load or unload.

“Inadequate compensation — 36 cents a mile for a driver running 70 hours a week — is unconscionable,” she said.

Hanna quickly pushed the conversation back to the hours of service. “That’s got nothing to do with this issue. Why do you even mention that?” he asked. “We’re saying you’re actually making it worse for the very people you’re saying you want to help.”

***

Rep. Rice questioned the agency’s oft-cited life-saving benefit of the rules — 19 per year — saying that number is statistically invalid and mostly unmeasurable “That’s such a small percentage (1/2 of a percent), we won’t even know these rules are having any effect, will we?” he asked.

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More than half of driver respondents in a recent study say that the July 1 hours of service rule change has decreased their pay by 5 percent or more.

Ferro responded by saying the 19 lives estimated to be saved “is not a sample, but those are actual lives. Every life is precious,” she said.

Rice also belabored the consequences of the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. restart provisions, potentially forcing drivers onto roads at more crowded times of the day, like morning and afternoon rush hours.

Ferro said the restart provisions do not do that. “This rule does not put trucks in traffic any more than they already are in traffic.” She also used the ATRI research to back up her own points, saying in an analysis of 40,000 logbooks, only 1/3 of 1 percent were substantively changed by the new hours provisions.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), along with Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), questioned Ferro on the field study. Study results were due in September, but Congress still hasn’t received it. Ferro said the study is under peer review and should be ready next spring.

Huelskamp also pressed Ferro on the age of the data used by the agency to create the rule, as it relied on crash data from 2003 and studies done in the 1990s. Ferro conceded the point, saying the agency has carried out analysis in an attempt to “move forward using more current numbers.”

One of Ferro’s final points of defense was a comparison of the number of deaths in trucking-related accidents to the airline industry: “The number of fatalities [if it were 1,000-2,000 a year in truck-related crashes] — we’re talking two to three 747 [jets] crashing every year. You wouldn’t tolerate it,” she said. “The American people wouldn’t tolerate it.”

Part 2 of this piece — which covers testimony from an owner-operator, fleet managers and a transportation researcher at Penn State — will run Friday, Nov. 22. 

  • Jason Haggard

    Anne Ferro has once again proven the fact that she and her administration are not basing anything on safety, they are merely playing the role of a dictator in an industry in which they have zero experience. Ferro has had numerous chances to speak to actual drivers and refused unless it was a staged event which the conversation was allowed to be controlled by her.

    So here it is again Anne Ferro when are you going to talk to the actual people doing this job and look us in the face when you lie to us?…….You’re not going to, and you know it. Its much easier to sit behind a desk in a position that you are unqualified to hold and continue playing dictator. You were asked for the data that the FMCSA “supposedly” based this rule on and you stalled, then you finally admitted that you didn’t even have the data that you claimed to have.

    If nobody else is going to stand up and ask for a full blown investigation into your actions and the FMCSA then I sure will. You cannot lie to the people and lie to Congress and think that you are above everyone else. If you want to play politician then you run for political office. The position that you were appointed to should require experience and transparency and you lack both and intentionally defy anyone that makes demands that you operate under the guidelines that you are supposed to. Politically placed puppets have no place in the FMCSA or in any other agency that makes rules that have a detrimental impact on U.S citizens and their livelihoods.

    Anne Ferro said within the last few weeks after taking an overnight joyride in a prearranged ride along that she now understands the problems that drivers face……really Anne? So you realize that YOU are one of the biggest problems that drivers face?……….Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  • guest

    These Jerks at the mega Fleets are bitching about the new HOS rules…..but they have SLAUGHTERED thousands of motorists over the years…of COURSE Safety Advocates have helped implement More and More RULES against truckers…the POOR QUALITY drivers they shove into trucking at CRAP Wages….and the HUGE turnover so they can SUCK up the GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY for “training” these Highway Killers….no WONDER the COPS are breathing down truckers necks!!!! Rich PIG mega fleets are mainly respsponsible….because they need continuous BABYSITTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • guest

    Actually Anne is right……more COPS and RULES to babysit the crappy drivers the mega fleets are pouring into trucking…those mega Fleet Owners only want MONEY….Huge turnover..Newbies crashing everyday of the WEEK!!! I see her POINT!!! illegal aliens fill up the truckstops everywhere you go too!!! Those jackasses havent even been to the School House!! Last week they were Gardners…this week they Drive Trookay????? The industry is Out Of Control……..if you park in a truckstop and go to sleep..the chances are Xlnt that some NEWBIE will ATTEMPT to back in next to you and smash into your truck….this is how rediculous the drivers are today..all fresh out of some ignorant “schoolhouse”…recent “GRADS”????? I see why the COPS are on trucking like Flies on Dog Crap!!! lol

  • Michelle

    This woman is totally out of touch with reality. She is some pencil pushing, airhead, who probably couldn’t tell you how many wheels a standard tractor trailer has. She’s so busy trying to prove she’s right, yet she is crippling the trucking industry.
    We have the power to bring this country to a halt if all the truckers would band together. However, with Oduma in office, he would just let more illegals in to take our jobs. We are so screwed no matter what we do.

  • henry sena

    thats she does not have to make a living she get us taxpayers to pay her salary and she has no idea what it is to drive for a living

  • guest

    FMCSA has no choice but to FORCE drivers to COMPLY with more rules….the CLOWNS hired by mega fleets has made this all possible….Years Ago….you had to be ABLE to drive a truck…..today you will be “graduated” from some rediculous “course” and get a “diploma”????? Soon after that you could be running SOLO????? Obviously things are out of control………I have seen more than a few of these “GRADS”…..bash the Hell out of other trucks….Just in the PARKING LOT!!!! Imagine what they do on the Open Road???? The OLD HANDS now have to be penalized for what Jerks are being turned loose into trucking today…..Plus the illegal alien drivers that get CAUGHT after the ACCIDENT…we read about how JUAN or PEDRO is an illegal alien and managed to KILL and MAIM American motorists while driving an 18 wheeler???? THIS is why we have all these NEW RULES…they dont NEED to monitor Journeymen American Citizen Truckers…for WHAT?? They know how to drive….its these OTHERS they are after.

  • john f

    I see her ride along was a crock of !@#$@!!

  • andrea hart

    How can anyone who has never set their ass in a truck know what the trucking industry needs??? How completely closed minded can this “woman” be???????

  • Guest

    I had two cattle trucks pass me the other night doing at least 85 maybe 90 MPH, a few bad Truckers bring this crap on everyone.

  • PZookl

    So please tell me how we can never have the rookies you so hate??? I have been driving 26 years, safe no accidents. I was once a rookie. As were you. In that time I have been backed into in a truck stop 5 times, all 5 times the driver was experienced and was having a bad day. Not one had less than 5 years two had over 20. I had a 23 year driver broad side me at a stop light in Chicago. All you guys who blame rookies for all your problems are as bad as Ferro. Are you going to drive forever??? If not then there will have to be newbies, the trucking industry is important to this country, it wont end with you, no more than it started with you, so some one has to keep doing the job when we are gone, instead of ranting like a punk, help the newbies don’t bash them.

  • guest

    See now this Congressman DICK Hanna.. is a bought and paid for NEW YORKER..representing MONEY…obviously….and Anne is promoting more RULES because the MONEY interests are DUMPING incompetent CHEAP LABOR into trucks and they of course are CHEAP and incompetent and CRASH into motorists…..Big MONEY wants to seep the CARNAGE under the rug and continue onward…….The PUBLIC doesnt like being SMASHED by these incompetent CLOWNS pretending to be TRUCKERS…so the battle continues……….

  • g

    Today the Bull haulers are probably “Braceros” or illegal aliens…..they have Fake id’s and phony CDL…they will only be deported..so they dont care about anything..or AMERICAN motorist for sure.

  • Glen R Hughes

    I so want to b**** slap her!

  • John Trinder

    nice job. very well said.

  • guest

    I can see a few newbies…but these companies are making a game of it by bringing in Thousands upon thousands and gaining the Gov Subsidy….and having a HUGE turnover is PROOF..it is a criminal enterprise….

  • guest

    Anne Ferro would not have a leg to stand on Except that we DO have an abundance of drivers who are irresponsible and incompetent…and who frankly dont give a damn…as they open their door ..stand on the walkway and piss into parking lot, fuel island…wherever…..then grab some Garbage and heave it out also…….then waddle their Obese Ass into ARBY’s with Butt Cleaveage hangin out……then promptly rip the front end off somebodys truck on the way out……Mega fleets have made this possible……Small Fleets have a BOSSMAN/OWNER who is more in TOUCH with his drivers and its likely he will get RID of a CLOWN…but the Mega Fleet is out of touch with these ROOKIE dopes…..All these SAFETY ZEALOTS have plenty of AMMUNITION thanks to mega fleets bringing the level of drivers so far DOWN.

  • dd amanda

    lollol rules change means longer out times more exhaustion that tens a lot in income and it meant go home and rest not now its tick one second and on the way

  • haller

    I think Ferro should shut this country down until the stupid truckers understand that she is in CHARGE !

  • guest

    Sure…Annes SOLUTIONS are not that GREAT…buther NEED for SOLUTION is definitely solid…..the industry is dangerous with crappy drivers and irresponsible Fleet Owners and illegal alien truckers.

  • Fleet Manager 3781

    Unfortunately the mega-fleets are some of the biggest propionates
    of the new HOS rules because they have a financial advantage by limiting the
    hours a driver can drive. It is called Union Dues! The unions and the Mega
    fleets they control like the idea of having to slip seat. Two sets of Union
    Dues per truck! Now we are making money!

  • bill henry

    your a vibrating butt plug

  • bill henry

    these new laws are forcing the good drivers out and the ones that are replacing them don’t give a fat rats ass about this industry other than a pay check.

  • Fleet Manager 3781

    Unfortunately the mega-fleets are some of the biggest propionates
    of the new HOS rules because they have a financial advantage by limiting the
    hours a driver can drive. It is called Union Dues! The unions and the Mega
    fleets they control like the idea of having to slip seat. Two sets of Union
    Dues per truck! Now we are making money!
    You don’t even have to be a good driver to pay Union Dues

  • Common sense

    To John Boy trucking and every other low rate sucking mega trucking vampires…..I hope it hits your pocket book and your bottom line hard. I hope you go out of business you greedy bastards.

  • guest

    Anne say driver pay is “unconscionable” and it is inadequate…and we should get DETENTION MONEY…she makes good POINTs…but Mr. bought and paid for..DICK Hanna tries to cut her OFF. Anne can REASON that this LOW PAY attracts only half interested “professional drivers” and the Caliber and Quality of course it what ya PAY for…hence the rising amounts of truck crashes and DEATHS? If she was out riding in a truck..she saw UpCLOSE the disgusting animals that WE see pretending to be “TRUCKERS”……an eye opener indeed for her! Did any of them Piss in front of ANNE??? Did she see some Butt Cleaveage??? I bet she was sick to her stomach by the time she was thru with that run……..yyyyyyuuuuuuuuck!!!!!!!

  • Robert Leavitt

    Ferro needs to come feed my family and pay my bills.

  • Common sense

    Damnit boy

  • Robert Leavitt

    I mean the Hanna can pay my Bills and feed my family

  • guest

    I hope Anne did not have to use the TOILETS in those disgusting DUMPS they call truckstops…she may have contracted some venereal disease or Scabies or CRABS…Im surprised that she would go trucking at all…even an overnighter….now she sees how DISGUSTING the “lifestyle” is…..NOW she is saying the PAY is way too LOW for truckers….aint THAT the TRUTH…it would probably take a MILLION Dollars for her to go on Another trucking run!

  • Robert

    I think your and idiot

  • Common sense

    I think they are talking about over the road general freight….low ball freight company’s

  • haller

    You know what,, I just don’t give a shit any more… All these EDUCATED, SMART dopes male or female, don’t have a clue what to do. They put something out there and see what kind of opposition they get and then they tweak their stupid ideas so it looks like they know something, and as a result ONLY the truckers must sleep with a mask on their faces, only truckers must have a camera pointed on them 24/7, ONLY truckers cannot take naps when their tired, ONLY truckers must sleep 8 hrs. straight, ONLY truckers must be fit. I say Ferro should by the grace of God get a prized CDL and drive a snow plow through the high country on 80 & 90 for life and the rest of the country can look upon her as a stupid truck driver……….and oh by the way,, what’s with all the bald cops, is baldness sonomoness with tough guy or maybe they want to look like Marines but don’t have the balls to join and bust off a ton of caps and look at the bodies they hacked up or did they all have extensive cradle cap??

  • Common sense

    I gaurantee you that John Boy trucking is not union….those greedy hill Billy’s

  • guest

    yep sleeping with a mask on yer face and having a Camera watching you drive???? Speed limiters
    and Electo Logs??? I see why nobody with a BRAIN would take an interest in jumping INTO this Sesspool..and many are Trying to get Out!!!!

  • norman ott

    What the hell dose she know about trucking. She gets all this input from people that know nothing about it, great way to make regulations.

  • Common sense

    It all comes down to…..you get what you pay for.
    If I were UPS I would get into trucking consulting on how to run a successful trucking company that is profitable and has low turnover from drivers.
    They pay their drivers fair and don’t mess around with dumb ass accident prone drivers.
    Like I mentioned before…..big greedy-vampire sucking rates low 1000 + trucking companies looking for the cheapest warm body to drive their truck….you get what your greedy dumb asses deserve.
    Basically you picked YOUR OWN POISON…

  • MercenaryMan

    Ive lost faith in Anne Ferro, “the truckers freind” has proven shes bought, paid and decided on whats best for Truckers, with out of date DATA, her two day ride, and her years of experience as a Administrator. Its time for TRUCKERS to demand representation above one persons testimony, We demand representation on the FMCSA Board. Statistics, Data and Administrators DONT DRIVE TRUCKS, PEOPLE DO…and DATA cant predict whats happening on the Road, the Weather, Traffic, …..but these same people create rules and regulations that simply rob drives of income and raise the prices at the market….Ive lost faith in anything FMCSA does…Its time somone whose got Industry experience is called to lead and guide these “boards” of Bribed, Bought and paid for Lobbyist controlled Administrators.

  • Mike Broaddus

    It was always my understanding that the FHWA was subordinate to Congress. Seems like some house cleaning at the agency is in order until they learn who they work for.

  • MercenaryMan

    Yes why arent School bus drivers forced into Sleep Apnea testing, anyone driving a vehicle, trains, Pilots, Cabbies, Pizza delivery boys, FMCSA Board members….why is it that truckers are the test bed for every idiot idea because they have an easily BOUGHT AND BRIBED LOBBY CONTROLLED BOARD….who after the correct amount of cash will let any Industry pose regulation and COSTS on US…..Cameras, Maskes, EOBRS, CDL Doctors, and god only knows the Tax and Licenses and Fees associated changes each year….its ridiculous. Brought to you by your favorite Administrator CASH IS KING…

  • guest

    Since Anne DID go trucking for an overnighter….she is now
    aware of the Nose Picking Dopes that call themselves “professionals”…..yyyuuuuucky……..I bet she coudnt WAIT to get HOME and NEVER go trucking again….guys dumping piss jugs all over the parking lot….then sit in thar reeeg and pick thar nose and speak spanish…..to the other illegal alien sitting next to them…….what a disgusting industry.

  • Jim Reul

    Funny how all the comments defending Ferro and the FMCSA are Alias’s or guest who won’t identify themselves. Are these Union Goons paid to show support for this?

    Also they say their research shows hours of service don’t affect many drivers. They could easily sway their results by the pool of drivers they choose to survey; i.e. just survey businesses that run Day shifts or Union drivers.

  • MercenaryMan

    The truck stop In Indianapolis in the inner city is about as greasy and gangs and lizards…and they call that safe parking….

  • Common sense

    I am not union nor do I support any union. I just use an alias because it says what I stand for. I believe big trucking companies are hurting the industry by driving rates low and hiring stupid people because good drivers won’t work for chump change. Any thing that is going to give me an edge or make a fair playing field….I will support. I might not like it or agree with it but ill work with it. Work smarter not harder.

  • Terri Truesdell

    Anne Ferro is nothing more than a desk jockey succumbing to her own political agenda. She hasn’t a clue as to the life of a full time trucker.

    My own quality of life has taken a huge blow. These new HOS have completely wrecked havoc on my sleep schedule. I run team and am the night driver, so in order for me to comply I must rearrange my sleep schedule. I am up when I should be sleeping, then am having to readjust to internal clock to drive my 10 hour shift. How does this make me a safer driver.? It does NOT. All it does is make me an angry, tired and over stressed driver behind the wheel.

    Not to mention the loss of income. Because we are a team, we no longer can get a reset after 34 hours. In order for me, as the night driver, to get a reset at the same time as my husband, we are now forced to park the truck for an additional 12-14 hours. That’s a lot of lost miles, hence revenue. On average, my husband and I are losing $1000.00 a week!

  • Jeff

    The whole thing absolutely disgusts me.. One size does not fit all! Who the HELL has the right to tell me when I am tired and when and how long to sleep! They need to remember we are PROFESSIONAL, we are adults we know our bodies! Someone needs to tell that bi@$& ferro when she can go to bed and wake up and see how her methodology works for her! Wheres our advocates?!? Every other trandportation entity (rail,air,maritime) has someone working for them not against!! They have imposed so many laws my drivers need a lawyer riding shotgun to assist them with compliance! #countercommonsense!!

  • Jeff

    Government is going to turn trucking into a regulated business like airlines.. You will have two or three carriers to choose from. Rich get richer and the politicians and lobbyist rake it in too!!

  • William McKelvie

    Priceless ……..

  • BunniRabbyt

    Anne Ferro is just like a judge or a prosecuter who has wrongly sent a man to prison. They will stand by that conviction even when overwhelming evidence proves the man is innocent. They never admit wrong. She is the same way avoid answering the questions and changing the subject tried to play the guilt trip by saying she is saving lives without accurate data. You know you can slowly kill a man from the inside out when you put to much on him he cant function anymore.Her pride may get in the way of doing the right thing. The enemy that comes to steal and destroy does not always come with a gun or knive. I feel for you drivers I pray for you

  • mike

    Why is it that EVERYONE in government refuses to acknowledge the elephant in the room. 80 % of fatalities involving trucks are caused by cars . Ms. Ferro, what program do you have to educate and, I mean EDUCATE the motoring idiot public to reduce this number. Additionally, where are all these self righteous ” crash groups ” regarding this issue or, does this to closely effect THEIR lives.

  • Smart truck driver.

    My wife and I drive team, and everytime we need to get a restart. It turns into a 54 hour restart, not a 34 hour. We loose more money setting over the new 34 hours restart rule that the FMCSA set up for us to use,all in the name of safety. I call bullshit on that (safety research) she says they have done. We don’t need to be told when we need to sleep or take a lunch brake. I know when i need to eat and use the rest room. We are grown ups, so stop with all these rules. And don’t start telling me, when I need to do something by a certain time. Unless,you want to live by those same rules. Maybe then you will understand,what it really takes to be a TRUCK DRIVER. We came out here, to get away from someone looking over our shoulders while we work. Freedom, not with all these damn rules… It’s not like it use to be out here. Ann Ferro… you my friend are an idiot. Admit it you guys screw up on the 34 hour restart. Congress will fix this stupid rule. I have to believe the trucking industry will make them do so. To much money is being lost here with this B.S. rule…