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ATRI says impact analysis used by FMCSA for new HOS has ‘significant flaws’

The changes to the Hours of Service rules which are to become effective July 1 include two new 34-hour restart provisions which limit use of the restart by truck drivers to one per week (168 hours) and a requirement that the restart include two overnight periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The Trucker News Services

6/17/2013

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) Monday said the findings of its assessment of the Regulatory Impact Analysis used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to justify changes to the 34-hour restart provision has significant flaws.

Enforcement of the changes to the Hours of Service rules becomes effective July and include two new 34-hour restart provisions which limit use of the restart by truck drivers to one per week (168 hours) and a requirement that the restart include two overnight periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

An FMCSA spokesman declined to comment on the analysis other than to point out that the “effective date” of the Final Rule was Feb. 27, 2012, not July 1, 2013, as ATRI said in a news release about the study. As stated in the Dec. 27, 2011, Final Rule, July 1, 2013, is the “compliance date” or the date the rule will be enforced.

ATRI said its analysis quantifies a delta between FMCSA’s purported industry benefit and actual industry costs resulting from the restart changes of more than $322 million. 

Among the flaws in the FMCSA Regulatory Impact Analysis ATRI said it identified are:

• The reliance by FMCSA on a biased dataset of driver logs from carriers undergoing compliance reviews and safety audits, skewing the data toward drivers operating at the higher limits of available hours, and

• The assignment of industry costs associated with the change to only 15 percent of the driving population, ignoring operational changes and associated costs which are likely to be experienced by a much larger percentage of drivers.

ATRI said its analysis is based on industry survey data of more than 2,000 commercial drivers and 500 motor carriers as well as a detailed analysis of logbook data representing 40,000-plus commercial drivers and over 1.4 million individual driver logs.

 “We know that the 34-hour restart changes are going to have a significant impact on our operations and across the entire supply chain,” said Steve Niswander, vice president of safety policy and regulatory relations for Groendyke Transport and chairman of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee. “ATRI’s analysis clearly documents the costs that our fleet and fleets across the country are likely to experience when these changes take effect on July 1.”

ARTI is the research arm of the American Trucking Associations, which has vigorously opposed the new rule.

A subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has scheduled a hearing on the Hours of Service rule Tuesday morning.

Among those scheduled to testify include FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro and Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, who will testify on behalf of ATA.

Williams, a past ATA chairman, is currently chairman of the ATRI board.

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

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