ATA Calls on FMCSA to Abandon Ill Considered Changes to Hours-of-Service

Mar 07, 2011, 11:37 ET from American Trucking Associations

ARLINGTON, Va., March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In comments filed March 4, American Trucking Associations again called on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to abandon its politically motivated proposal to revise the hours-of-service rules and retain the current rules which are based on science and have been proven to function safely.

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"In its current HOS proposal, the agency has abandoned years of objective analysis in favor of speculation and internal 'judgments' of critical areas," ATA said in its comments. "The agency's approach in the current HOS proposal cannot be squared with its prior factual conclusions and analytical approach; is contrary to the real-world circumstances to which the rules apply; and its financial computations whither under objective scrutiny. In short, the agency is far from making any sort of case that the HOS rules should be changed and the obvious strains in its attempt to justify those changes illustrate how ill-considered they are."

In its comments, ATA points out that since the basic framework of the rules went into effect in 2004, "truck safety has improved to unprecedented levels" as the "numbers of truck-related injuries and fatalities have both dropped more than 30 percent to their lowest levels in recorded history."

ATA also told FMCSA that despite claims by the agency and anti-truck activists that the reduction in crashes is the result of a slumping economy, "truck mileage has actually increased." ATA went on to point out that even those who choose not to believe the current hours of service rules are at least partly responsible for these improvements in truck safety must surely agree that the rules did not harm it. In short, the disastrous consequences of the current rules predicted by industry critics simply did not occur.

Rather than change the rules, ATA told FMCSA that focusing on improving compliance with the current regulations would do more to improve highway safety.

"Promoting compliance with the current hours of service rules is a very good recipe for reducing crashes," ATA said, pointing to the agency's own data which demonstrates a very strong correlation between compliance with the current hours of service rules and low crash rates. "Changing the rules only leaves safety to chance."

ATA also pointed to independent reviews of FMCSA's analysis that found the agency wildly overstated, and in some cases invented from whole cloth, the alleged benefits of its proposed changes.

"The agency had made numerous crucial errors in its assessment that individually and cumulatively render its conclusions meaningless," ATA said, adding that a leading sleep researcher upon whose work the agency leaned heavily to justify the proposed changes accused the agency of misapplying his work to support its claims.

"The changes proposed by FMCSA will have virtually no benefit in terms of reducing fatigue-related truck crashes and, in fact, will create other types of truck safety concerns such as promoting aggressive driving and driving during peak hours of congestion," ATA concluded.

The American Trucking Associations (www.truckline.com) is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States. Follow ATA on Twitter @TruckingMatters (www.twitter.com/truckingmatters), or become a fan on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/y4qwp6h).

SOURCE American Trucking Associations



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