Trucking trade groups and even a member of Congress moved swiftly to voice skepticism of the findings of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Jan. 30-released field study on the 34-hour restart provisions of the current hours-of-service rule, which concluded that drivers are more alert and drive safer after a restart that includes two nighttime periods.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) in a statement called FMCSA’s findings “worthless” and said the study heightens the need for his House bill, which would at least temporarily revert hours of service rules to pre-July 1 provisions, to become law.
“Considering the study arrived four months late, I expected a robust report, but the study is worthless,” Hanna said. “This half-baked study only underscores the need to legislatively delay the rule and have GAO conduct an independent analysis of the study so we can get a credible account of what this rule will truly mean for the safety of truckers, commuters and businesses.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association released a short statement saying it is “skeptical” of the study’s conclusions.
“The study does not appear to us to be representative of those actually affected by the newer hours of service so we are skeptical it can be applied to the larger population within the industry.”
The American Trucking Associations also released a statement that says the agency’s study does nothing to justify the hours rules provisions. ATA’s Dave Osiecki says the report “is lacking critical analyses on several important issues,” one of them being the rule’s potential to force more trucks on the road during already congested hours, like during morning rush hour.
“The study acknowledges that the two or more night restart periods result in more trucks on the road during the day, but it does not address the corresponding safety or congestion impacts,” Osiecki said.
ATA, like OOIDA, issued a report in November saying the rule costs carriers productivity and causes drivers to be less rested than previous hours regulations.
Hanna in his statement also pointed to this is as a weakness of the agency’s study.
“FMCSA is telling millions of truckers when they are tired, but the study only examined 100 truckers from three companies. In addition, the study’s narrow scope does not address perhaps the most serious issue that could change the entire outcome of the study — forcing truckers to work in the morning rush hour when roads are most congested and dangerous.”