Politicians support current hours rule

| March 02, 2011

A bipartisan group of Congressmen and senators has called on the Obama administration to abandon its hours-of-service proposal and retain the current safety rules.
 
“The rules currently in place are working well and do not need to be changed,” 122 representatives wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Since the current rules were implemented seven years ago, the trucking industry’s safety performance has improved at an unprecedented rate.”
 
The letter notes that since the rules went into effect in 2004, the number of fatal and injury crashes involving large trucks has fallen to historic lows, even as trucks have driven almost 10 billion more miles.
 
“If the proposed changes are put in place, companies will be forced to increase the number of trucks on the road necessary for delivering the same amount of freight; adding to final product costs and increasing congestion on our nation’s highways,” a group of 23 senators wrote in their letter to LaHood.
 
Lawmakers added that the proposed rules are much more opaque and complex than the current standards and “such complexity will only serve to hamper both industry compliance and motor carrier enforcement.”

Previously, the ATA contended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration misapplied scientific studies’ findings to support its proposed changes to the current HOS rules.

ATA said FMCSA used the work of Dr. Francesco Cappuccio, a physician, professor and researcher at Warwick Medical School in the United Kingdom who reviewed 16 published studies on the effect of sleep duration on mortality and co-authored a 2007 study used by the agency to support its proposal. FMCSA used this study to conclude that short projected increases in sleep could generate roughly $690 million in annual health benefits for drivers.

According to ATA, Cappuccio said FMCSA misused his sleep research and concluded that the agency cannot use it to quantify benefits to justify its regulatory changes.


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