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Ferro to testify at hearing on impact of HOS on small business

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro will be one of four witnesses next Thursday when a House subcommittee explores the impact of the new Hours of Service rule on small businesses. (Associated Press)

The Trucker News Services

11/15/2013

WASHINGTON — Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro is scheduled to be one of three witnesses next Thursday to appear before a House subcommittee to determine how the new Hours of Service rule in impacting small businesses.

The Contracting and Workforce Subcommittee of the Committee on Small Business has titled the hearing “WRONG WAY: The Impact of FMCSA’s Hours of Service Regulations on Small Businesses.

The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y.

Hanna is one of three members of the House who filed a bill recently that would

in essence rescind a portion of the new Hours of Service rule, delaying use of the current 34-hour restart provision until an independent assessment of the rule is complete.

Hanna and the other sponsors of the bill — Reps. Tom Rice, R-S.C., and Mike Michaud, D-Maine, said the new rule is taking a toll on truck drivers and the trucking industry, which the lawmakers called “the lifeblood of the American economy.”

The bill, entitled the “True Understanding of the Economy and Safety Act, or the “TRUE Safety Act, has not been assigned to a committee, although logically it would be sent to the Highways and Transit subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The bill, is passed and signed by President Barack Obama, would allow truckers to operate under the 34-hour restart rules that were in place before July 1, 2013.

Others scheduled to testify at the hearing Thursday include Tilden Curl Jr. of Tecco Trucking of Olympia, Wash., who will testify on behalf of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association; Brian Evans, president-owner of L & L Freight Services of Cabot, Ark., who will testify on behalf of the Transportation Intermediaries Association; and Dr. Paul P. Jovanis, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Transportation Operations Program at the Larson Transportation Institute at The Pennsylvania State University.

The hearing will come four days after the release of a long-study by the American Transportation Research into the impact on motor carriers of the new 34-hour restart provision, which will be available Monday morning.

The FMCSA is also currently studying the new 34-hour restart provision as mandated by MAP-21, but the agency has yet to say exactly when its study will be released.

Jovanis was co-author of research released in May 2011concerning driver fatigue.

Among the findings of that research that showed anytime a drivers went from driving status to either in-a-sleeper-berth status or off-duty status, the odds of a crash were reduced for both truckload and less-than-truckload drivers by 32 percent and 51 percent, respectively, for two breaks.

The new HOS rule requires a 30-minute break no more than eight hours after a driver goes on duty.

The research also studied the 34-hour restart recovery were for a trip starting immediately after being off duty for at least 34 hours compared to a baseline trip (starting at night or day) without the 34 hours off duty. All tests of the 34-hour recovery showed an increase in crash odds (significant or barely significant) for both TL and LTL drivers compared to the baseline of starting a trip without the 34 hours off duty.

The HOS rule now limits used of the 34-hour restart to once a week.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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