ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In today's public listening session on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's recently released hours-of-service proposal, American Trucking Associations Senior Vice President Dave Osiecki told the agency to put facts and data before politics.
"Policy changes must be based on sound research and data, not pressure or politics," Osiecki, ATA's senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs, told FMCSA officials, "and their benefits must outweigh the costs," he said. "The proposed HOS changes do not pass the test on any of these principles."
Osiecki noted that those pillars are at the core of the Obama administration's recent push to improve the regulatory process, yet are ignored by FMCSA in this proposal.
In an attempt to justify one component of its proposal, FMCSA leans on a study of just 12 people conducted at an in-residence laboratory and released just weeks before the agency's proposal. The study itself recommends "validation of the study findings . . . in a real-world field study," Osiecki said.
FMCSA, Osiecki said, also "relies on a completely different, less sophisticated method" in its regulatory impact analysis than it had in the past in order to calculate the costs and dubious benefits of the proposed changes.
"In doing so, it arrives at much lower costs and much greater benefits than it found for a similar policy change just two years ago," he said. "Since the safety benefits of the Dec. 29 proposal alone do not outweigh the costs, FMCSA's analysis stands or falls on suggested driver health benefits."
FMCSA's analysis, Osiecki said, relies on creative "hypothetical benefits" resulting from increased sleep, despite the fact the agency's research has found drivers sleep between six and seven hours a night already, a level that is "within the normal sleep range determined by the very research relied on by FMCSA."
"If there's no harm in that sleep range, there's no benefit in that range," Osiecki said. "FMCSA overlooked this conclusion and proposed almost $700 million in annual health benefits," on the premise that drivers will get more sleep, be healthier and live longer lives, the monetized value of which will offset the tremendous economic and productivity costs.
In light of the flaws in FMCSA's reasoning and the industry's unprecedented safety record operating under the current rules, Osiecki said ATA "respectfully requests that FMCSA withdraw its hours-of-service proposal and stand behind good rules it developed and consistently justified for the past seven years."
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