House members call for GAO to evaluate FMCSA’s methodology in creating hours rule

| April 02, 2014

hours truck eveningTwo members of Congress have asked the Government Accountability Office to evaluate studies done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the most recent hours of service regulations changes, which took effect last year, to check the agency’s research and methods used to create and back the rule.

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa) and Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), two leaders on the House’s transportation committee, penned a letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, requesting that the GAO evaluate the agency’s recently released field study on the hours rule — specifically, the 34-hour restart provisions — and FMCSA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis used during the rulemaking process. 


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Shuster, chair of the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said because of the restrictive nature of the hours rule on drivers and carriers — particularly its potential impact on pay and productivity — “we have to be certain…changes to regulations…are well founded,” he said. 

“Concerns have been raised that these regulatory changes may have been enacted without proper data or analysis, and if the Administration is going to change the rules on truck drivers, we need to know that the changes were thoroughly vetted and will improve safety,” he said. 

For the agency’s field study, Shuster and Petri have asked the GAO to study whether FMCSA collected the right safety and operational data,  an accurate representative driver sample was studied, increased truck traffic was studied and the driver groupings used by the agency were appropriate. 

For the RIA used by the agency in its HOS rulemaking, the Congressmen are requesting the GAO ensure the consistency of the “assumptions and methodologies” of the RIA and FMCSA’s justifications for the rule, that crash data used in the RIA was “current and appropriate,” the assumptions the agency made about driver health were “appropriate and reasonable” and could be backed up with other data analysis and that no “errors, inconsistencies or assumptions” affected the agency’s “conclusions regarding the costs and benefits of the new regulations.”


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FMCSA released the results of its Congressionally required field study in late January, and it concluded that the hours rules boosts safety and makes drivers less fatigued. 

The agency’s findings, though, ran counter to those of trucking trade groups who performed their own studies: The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association in a survey of its members found that the rules have cost drivers miles and pay and have actually increased fatigue.

Similarly, the American Trucking Associations’ research arm the American Transportation Research Institute found that 50 percent of drivers operating under the new rules had seen their pay fall by at least 5 percent. Nearly two-thirds reported hat least some pay decrease, with 17 percent reporting a pay loss of 15 percent or more, due to the July 1, 2013, hours rule change. 

“I continue to hear concerns from drivers and companies in Wisconsin and around the country about the impact of this 34-hour restart,” said Petri, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.  “We need to make sure the requirements are based on sound facts and actually improve safety rather than just overwhelm the industry with another onerous regulation.”

In both the House and the Senate, bills are in committee that would, if passed, overturn the current hours of service rule at least temporarily and allow drivers to operate under the previous rules until the GAO has studied the agency’s methodology. 

  • Tom AndSheila Hurd

    So there are 2 people in Washington that have a clue, that is not very good odds, I would say that our country is near doomed.

  • vickie Lee thomas

    They have no intention to give drivers a decent break. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m waiting for the fools to regulate our bathroom time. They have regulated everything else. If you notice the only time you are allowed to eat is on the 30 minute break. Cuzz the 10 hours are for sleeping. You have to have 10 hours in the bunk. Ever thing else is on duty driving or on duty not driving.

  • Stormy

    Hey Vickie…. Since our resident trucking pro, Anne Ferro, has said it takes 15 minutes to fuel your truck, I am sure she feels like you can fit in a 5 minute run to the bathroom with all the extra time you have on your hands during fuel stops. Once they get us all hooked up with EOBRs I am sure they will include a PP button so all our time can be accounted for.


    Doomed you say? We have people making rules on us driver that don’t even have a clue. There like the EVA ” Out Of Control”


    Sorry I meant to say EPA

  • Big R Phillips

    As i was backing my truck up to shut down and go home, i looked around and said very loudly to nobody in particular in my W9’s sleeper…”This half hour sh-t has gotten alotta truck stops ALL fck’d up from drivers jumping off the interstate and take and cluster fk the parking spots for a half an hour”! When the drivers who need to shut down CANT get a parking spot. Then the drivers who just might’ve beat the quiting time traffic jam if they could’ve ketp rolling are now in this fk’n migration of folks heading back to the burbs! Trust me i witness it every day in Atlanta. Plus there’s been more accidents and fatalities around Atlanta these past few months since this numb nuts law had been enforced! Not to mention the revenue lost logistically speaking. Quit bull shit’n and go to source of most of this crap that kills our time…..SHIPPERS AND RECEIVERS! When they enforce some decent solutions for being held up at these docks for hours at a time with out being fairly compensated, then we’ll be heading in the right direction. Then we can work on rates! I say bring back regulation for all aspects of trucking! Since i pull containers now? I’m really for regulation or at least pay us our percentage from the original invoice dammit! Oh this sh-t aint over by a long shot yall. U drivers better pay attention to whats going on around you. Theyre not widening the Panama Canal and dredging around Port of Savannah and looking to build a huge ass port in Baha Mexico for shits’n giggles!

  • vickie Lee thomas

    Stormy, heck I’m an old lady, the PP button won’t work, takes me longer that to blow my nose.

  • mmoon

    I made this comment earlier this year after having just read the study over and over detail for detail….This just barely scratches the surface of flaws found in how this study was conducted.
    Naturalistic field study. Really?…

    So, the participants included 44 local, 26 regional and 36 over the road drivers. All are employees (the 3 O/O’s contracting w/ carrier might as well be employees.)

    Why not include the little guys? Of the many owner/operator/mechanic/carrier/safety/dispatcher/driver
    types to whom trucking is their life NOT their job, not 1 of them was included in this study.

    44 test subjects were “local” drivers, that’s 42%. Of the trucks used, 44 of them were day cabs. Hmm.

    Local drivers, for the most part, are not subject to the hours of service regulations and, they go home every day/night. What the ____?

    They definitely are NOT “representative of drivers affected by the maximum driving time requirements.”

    I wonder what the average speed is for a local driver. Anybody know?

    Lane deviation data was tossed out for any driving done at speeds below or above 45-65 mph or w/ more than a 1 mph deviation in speed w/in any 1-minute interval.

    So, out of the almost 415,000 miles driven during this study they ended up with “235,575 usable 1-minute records of lane deviation”

    Don’t even get me started with their so-called duty cycles. Give me a break! Hah ha

    I’m all over the place trying to expressing myself, my frustration. Please read the study the FMCSA ordered up.
    One word from the report’s title says it all-

    : the power to produce a desired result or effect

  • Stormy

    Me, too!!! I can’t even get out of the truck in 15 minutes.

  • Shadow Hauling

    hopefully those two have some influence and they change things back and leave it there. It’s not good but better than the way it is now. If you haven’t read the FMCSA site on the eobr you better do it. From what read they will cost between 165 and 955.70 as they have know idea. They claim it will reduce paperwork doing away with paper logs . But you will still have to produce nommore than 10 documents to prove this GREAT recorder is correct and hasn’t been tampered with, even though they have to have built in telltales if they have been. You may still have to print out a paper copy if that’s what the inspector wants. YA F—– right paper reduction my ass. In my opinion it just someone in the government making money from stock in these companies selling them. So far there are only two that stand a chance of passing the requirements to sell these and post on FMCSA site that they are approved to sell them. Another bad idea that shouldn’t be allowed to,go anywhere. I hope everyone gets on their site and opposes them even if they are using them. If you like them keep,using them bit please don’t agree with them and force them up,the rest of,our asses. And how does something that distracts me reduce crashes ? I’m boiling hot. time to truck on, be safe brothers and sisters

  • Arnold C.

    I would really like to know why anyone except a trucker can work as long as they want and sleep as little as they choose ( day or night) and some clueless truck hating idiot can decide that I sleep best from 1am to 5am and that I can only count 1 restart every 168 hours. This pathetic rule has forced me miss loads and run way harder when I’m running in an attempt to make the revenue I was able to make prior to the passing of their bill. If I have 34 hours off on Wednsday why shouldn’t I get another restart!?!? If I work all nights and sleep during the day, who is going to be stupid enough to tell me that I can’t get my rest while the sun is up?!? Left wing whacko’s!!!!

  • guest

    What about the 30minute milk and cookies mandatory break?? We need these baby sitter rules……goo goo

  • No Slack!

    Next thing you know they will telling us when we can get a Lot Lizard.

  • ToucheTurtle

    The real problem for me is that I just don’t want anyone telling me what time I have to go to work, how long I can work at a stretch, when I have to take a break, how much rest I HAVE to have before I am rested, when I have to deliver, or when I can go on vacation. And THAT is exactly why I am in business for myself. You might just say that if I am going to work hard, then the money I make is going to belong to me and not some guy sitting behind a desk directing traffic! And I am smart enough to set my own work schedule without some snot-nosed bureaucrat with NO working knowledge of my business in D.C. telling me when I can take a pee break!

    If I wanted to be someone else’s employee, I would apply and let someone else worry about find me loads, collecting the money and paying my bills. Heck, I would just drive their truck and not worry about the odd little noise under the hood, whether my tires are properly inflated, and I wouldn’t care about getting a ding in the company truck’s fender.

    It isn’t just our industry that is under siege by the federal gov’t, but it does seem that we are the proud recipients of more than our share of intrusive rules, regulations and new laws these days. Why is that? Owner/operators have little input or say unless it is thru OOIDA . . it is the Big Dog companies, represented by their numerous, lobbyists who are driving this buggy!

    The Hours of Service changes were supported by the likes of the American Trucking Assn, right up to the point where their bosses – the BIG trucking companies – were losing money because of it! Who supports this Assn? Big trucking companies who want to see owner/operators become a thing of the past, but I guess that this time they got pinched so now they are screaming . . . it is all about the mighty $$$ and has absolutely NOTHING to do with safety.

    Even if these two elected officials get the 34-restart delayed, I have no doubt that it is coming back to haunt us, and it may be worse that is currently is . . . if THAT is possible!

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Cops for one work all kinds of extra jobs some times working 18 hour days ! they are driving goverment owned cars and carrying guns , they should have to log there time .

  • Les

    Fellow citizens, it maybe is time to stop focusing on all of the negatives that is taking place and whining about the stupidity etc. etc. and put your focus and abilities back at them, let me give you a few thoughts to ponder, DOT officers and Highway Patrol, start calling them to 911 when not in pursuit and reporting them for excessive speed, texting while driving, the use of profanity after you ask them to stop during inspections, traveling down road typing on laptops setting in cities between traffic lane without lights on vehicles, and if you do call in and the dispatcher snubs you document time and date and e-mail the governor of that state and give them the story and be honest and truthful, its time to start giving it back, I did this very thing in an certain state and got awesome results the Highway patrol director had to issue me an apology and was he pissed, become tattletales just like little kids day by day, why fear them ? get petitions going against the very gov. entities that are being unreasonable, publish names of elected officials, attornies, judges, the news if it exposes corruption then spend some money and expose them, in other words quit talking and start your actions, and most important be truthful and professional, get right to the point without trying to whine and get someone to feel sorry for you, in conclusion figure out how to outsmart them, what will hurt them the most, then offer them a warning either change or you will be exposed, talk is cheap actions are real folks.


    YEP, FULLY AGREE. You think those Congressmen and women are without prostitutes and drink ?

  • eric

    That’s wrong. You can have 2 hours off then change to 8 sleeper as long as it is consecutive.. that is good. My qualcom is able to do this.

  • eric

    Les. That is an awesome plan.. I see the cops driving very badly and I will look out for them doing distracted stuff. Good idea.

  • Jason Haggard

    I got a decent break all the time under the old rules because I could plan my day accordingly, then came the 14 hour “stopwatch” method, which is a joke, then they added more stupidity to the mix with the latest garbage and then lied about it saying they had data to back it up but couldn’t produce the so called data for over a year.

  • ej

    no eld owner operators and companys should be given choice

  • jojo

    Comments on the ELD rule can be made online at using the Docket Number FMCSA-2010-0167 or by email at, using the subject line Attention: Desk Officer for FMCSA, DOT. They can also be faxed to 202-395-6566.

  • jojo

    The only time I log sleeper is if I’m doing the 8 / 2 split. Read the law carefully as it’s hard to fully understand .
    I don’t hesitate to call compliance at OOIDA when I need a better interpretation.
    Also, check out the guidances of the DOT rules at

  • jojo

    Mid term elections on 11/4. Your Vote counts.

    Three ways to send a message
    1. Inform your carrier and Congressman that you will be taking off at least 3 days during the week of 10/31 thru 11/7.
    2. Register to Vote and then start making calls to your elected officials in DC. Call 202-224-3121 and inform them of your issues.
    3. VOTE. I’m Shutting my truck DOWN 10/31 thru 11/7 TO MAKE SURE THAT MY VOICE IS HEARD!!!

    Why don’t you all Join Me!

  • Redjeb Mehmet

    The 14 hour clock is unsafe and Dangerous. EOBRS are not the problem. When you put a clock over someone’s head human nature will take over. This job requires no restriction on time which diminishes safety.

  • vickie Lee thomas

    Splitting sleeper time into 8 &2 only works if the dot cop knows that. My husband got shut down for splitting. So we just do a straight 10 strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.