A study released this week by the American Transportation Research Institute says that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has miscalculated the yearly cost-benefit of the upcoming hours-of-service rule changes by $322 million.
The hours of service rule changes — which were made final in December 2011 — will become effective July 1. The two provisions studied by ATRI are the new limit of one 34-hour restart per week and the requirement that two rest periods be taken each week between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
The ATRI report says that FMCSA says the industry will see a benefit of $133 million a year. According to ATRI’s calculations, however, the hours of service changes will actually cost the industry $189 million a year collectively — a $322 million discrepancy. ATRI’s yearly cost is based on what it calls a “conservative” measure that 15 minutes a week in productivity will be lost by the average driver.
ATRI says the difference in its calculation from the agency’s comes from the fact that FMCSA does not take into account lost work hours, the limiting of driver productivity, increased congestion on roadways, increased restart times and other costs.
Another key conclusion of ATRI’s report is that the 34-hour restart provisions are based on bad logbook data, as the data is gathered from carriers undergoing compliance reviews and safety audits, therefore skewing the data in favor of drivers who do not adhere to the hours of service limits.
ATRI is the research wing of the American Trucking Associations, and its study is based on