‘Still not listening’: Readers react to FMCSA’s hours study

| February 04, 2014
"If FMCSA has made changes to the hours of service that improve safety, then why did the NTSB recommend that Congress audit their entire program?" --James Getten, commenting on FMCSA's hours impact study via Overdrive's Facbook page

“If FMCSA has made changes to the hours of service that improve safety, then why did the NTSB recommend that Congress audit their entire program?” –James Getten, commenting on FMCSA’s hours impact study via Overdrive‘s Facbook page

Those who’d rather not live with the 34-hour restart limitations and 30-minute mandatory break hoped for favorable results from FMCSA’s long-awaited real-world impacts study of the hours of service changes. It’s release disappointed, to say the least. 

“I think the ones who really need to be held compliant for keeping proper log documentation are our elected officials or legislators who dream up these schemes,” wrote Jim Stewart under news about the study when it came out last week, channeling the ongoing frustration of opponents of the hours changes. “It appears they may be keeping late hours within the Beltway and not getting their proper rest breaks. As a result, they’re making irrational decisions that impact the livelihoods of thousands who deliver the nation’s goods. Somehow common sense gets checked in along with coats and hats before Congress convenes in chambers…”

One Congressman, Richard Hanna of New York, sponsor of the TRUE Safety Act to roll back the hours changes pending an independent study of its impacts, apparently hears drivers’ concerns well enough, wrote William McKelvie. “Hanna is right,” said the owner-operator, to call the study virtually “worthless,” as was reported. “But [FMCSA] does not listen to him either,” McKelvie added. 

Hanna vowed to continue the push to get a more independent look at the real-world impacts from the Government Accountability Office “so we can get a credible account of what this rule will truly mean for the safety of truckers, commuters and businesses,” as he was quoted in this story

Would FMCSA listen to the GAO?


CSA scoring is faulty, unfair for small carriers, GAO report says

The scoring system used by FMCSA in its Compliance, Safety, Accountability system is flawed and is made up of an incomplete data set, particularly for small carriers, a GAO report concludes.

It bears asking. GAO released just yesterday a look at problems associated with the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) enforcement program, many of which we’ve detailed in depth over the last year. Here’s FMCSA’s response to that report, as told to Overdrive‘s Kevin Jones: “While we are always looking for ways to improve our safety oversight methods, and will carefully consider the GAO’s latest recommendations, research shows that CSA is already more effective at identifying motor carriers with a greater risk of crashing than the system we replaced in 2010.”

Such selective focus on the positive won’t get us any closer to a safer, more flexible alternative to the current hours regs.


Talk of the road: House bill to hold hours changes

For bill supporters, key to convincing lawmakers to sign on to the effort may well be showing the economic impact of the new rule.

Meanwhile, a “Drivers for the TRUE Safety Act” Facebook page has sprung up. You can find it via this link. 

More voices on FMCSA’s hours study:
Douglas Morton: It only cost me about $500 a week in lost wages and threw my whole system off balance. Been driving more than 40 years the old way with no problems. Now people who don’t drive trucks or work for a living tell me I’m wrong. One recordable accident in that time, long haul and local.

Commenting as “Dave”: I bet if I paid for that study I’d get a different outcome. 

Ed Wolf: I am so glad that they came out with this “study” since for more than 40 years and somewhere near 3,500,000 miles I have been doing it all wrong and unsafely. I guess that I was just lucky that after all that time I didn’t kill, maim or simply crash myself into someone. Thank you to all the powerful and all knowing and obviously highly educated individuals that dreamed up this fiasco to save the world. I am so glad that I will retire soon. 

Shawn McConniel: Again, people making uninformed decisions for truckers…. Let’s discuss the 14-hour rule that [leads to more people driving] while drowsy. I say bring back the old sleeper rule.

Bob Hearns: I’m with you on the old sleeper rule, Shawn. I knew they were uninformed decision makers as soon as the 14-hour rule was instituted. 

Ron C.: What the study doesn’t show is the stress that has been put on all drivers. All drivers, whether independent or company, are now being forced to drive … with rush-hour traffic, likewise the financial stress of costing more time and money to make your delivery and that load you miss each week. 

Weigh in yourself by dropping us a comment below or join the discussion via our Facebook page

  • Jason Haggard

    When the FMCSA and Anne Ferro are not required to answer to anyone then it makes it difficult to act. There needs to be a complete investigation of the FMCSA as a whole.

    That agency has fabricated statistics, carefully extracted favorable cross sections of other statistics that supported their needs and continued to do everything short of calling professional drivers a bunch of lying idiots who don’t know how to be safe without the FMCSA telling them how.

    To further promote the insanity you have organizations that claim to represent owner operators and drivers who make a major deal about Anne Ferro going for an overnight ride in a truck on a prearranged load and under conditions that are nothing like the conditions faced by the average driver out there today. They were busy talking up how wonderful it was of her to “find out what its really like”. I guess they have lost touch with reality and are more concerned with collecting their annual membership dues and pandering to the government instead of fighting for drivers like they claim……are you listening OOIDA? I didn’t think so.

  • Shawn McConniel

    Most accidents happen while drowsy or forcing driver to drive during peak hours of day cause of the 14 hour rule. I use to run Up PA MD area and go around DC. on old rules cause I knew I could park catch a nap while rush hour was going on. With new rule made me drive in that bad traffic with the morons in 4 wheelers I said not for me they can get their freight from some other idiot will not be me

  • JERICO Way

    Thank God we (husband/wife 40 yr team) retired from this MESS in July 2013! We could see the proverbial writing on the wall, therefore, we opted out.

    How can 116 people be a qualified study to determine HOS, when our very own trusted physicians are not “qualified” enough to do a simple physical without being required to be certified by the DOT? Imagine that, the DOT makes the decision that our doctors, whom we trust to do surgery on us, are not qualified enough for them! However, the DOT feels that 116 supposed drivers can tell them about the safety of the HOS.

    That study was a complete farce. Thankfully, we can now sit back and watch the show begin. When our highly qualified drivers have finally gotten enough, we will be left with those morons we have all seen on the roads in recent years to take over trucking.

    For example: while traveling Westbound on I-10 through Baton Rouge, LA, late one night, two ignorant drivers pulling sets of doubles, right up in each others’ DOT bumpers, in the left lane, while there was a DEADLY HazMat tanker (scull and bones) in the right lane, with us safely behind him, in that very deadly curve, passed us and the tanker. When we told them that was not a good choice, we were told to drive our truck, and they will drive theirs. We said to ourselves, “hopefully, we won’t lose our lives tonight because if anything were to happen, many people in Baton Rouge were surely to die that night, which included all of us.”

    The only thing we can say, please don’t be late with our products we consume!

  • Carl Forfun

    The only way things will change is if we get these Dumbocrats out of office. All they look for is a reason to build more government control.