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

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“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?

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.”

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

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. 

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