FMCSA responds to study criticizing its new truck safety measures

- Charles Ruhmann

Earlier this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a field study regarding the worth and efficiency of the agency’s restart provisions contained within the updated Hours-of-Service rule released last summer. The field study was commissioned by the agency but was conducted by a third party in order to ensure that the results of the study would be objective.

The HOS restart provision was enacted in order to prevent fatigue-related truck accidents caused by overworked and overtired commercial truck drivers. According to the field study on the matter, the restart provision is more effective at ensuring that truck drivers do not engage in dangerous, fatigue-related driving behaviors when compared with the agency’s previous restart provision.

Earlier this month, the American Transportation Research Institute released a scathing analysis of the FMCSA’s field study. The ATRI is part of the American Trucking Associations, which represents thousands of commercial trucking operations nationwide. It is possible that the ATRI’s ties to the trucking industry’s bottom line may have influenced its criticism, but it is also possible that the ATRI tried to remain impartial in its analysis.

Either way, the FMCSA’s director of communications was adamant in her response to the ATRI’s analysis when she recently told the industry publication Fleet Owner that, “ATRI’s report is an attempt to cloud the fact that the updated Hours-of-Service rule is working to ensure that truck drivers who work extreme schedules of up to 70 hours a week are getting the recuperation time they need before getting back behind the wheel. A well-rested commercial driver is a safer driver.”

Source: Fleet Owner, “FMCSA rejects ATRI criticism of HOS restart study,” David Cullen, April 24, 2014