FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sean McNally
December 6, 2014
Misinformation Shouldn’t Block Risk-Reducing Fix for Hours-of-Service Rules
Arlington, Va. – Today, American Trucking Associations leaders called on congressional leaders to reject misinformation put forth regarding truck safety and pass an omnibus appropriations bill that provides needed relief from unjustified and risk-raising regulations.
“In July 2013, with insufficient research, analysis and understanding of the consequences, the Obama administration placed two restrictions on America’s truck drivers that increased the risk of crashes on America’s highways,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Senator Susan Collins, and a bipartisan majority of Senate appropriators, recognized the flaws in the changes put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and voted to approve a common sense ‘time out’ to allow for proper research to be conducted.
“This isn’t a rider being added in the middle of the night at the 11th hour as some would have the public believe. This reasonable solution allows the government to do the research it should have done ahead of time and gives the industry the flexibility thousands of fleets and millions of drivers are pleading for,” Graves said.
The provision, commonly known as the Collins Amendment, would suspend the restrictions imposed on drivers using the 34-hour restart: requiring two periods between 1am and 5am and arbitrarily limiting the use of the restart to once per week. These restrictions – according to the government’s own limited study data push more trucks onto the roads in the early morning hours, statistically the riskiest time of day for crashes. FMCSA failed to consider this increased risk when making these changes and the Collins Amendment would suspend these changes until further research is conducted.
“Since these restrictions were imposed, driver after driver and fleet after fleet have said they are having a much greater impact than FMCSA envisioned and as a result, the agency should have to do more research before imposing these rules,” said ATA Chairman Duane Long, chairman of Longistics.
“At the end of the day, self-appointed trucking industry critics have used deceptive tactics and outright lies to paint what, by any measure, is a reasonable resolution to a potentially serious safety problem,” Graves said. “These falsehoods and half-truths shouldn’t prevent congress calling for a time out on these poorly researched and ill-conceived restrictions.”
American Trucking Associationsis the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward
Senator Collins Amendment
In July 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented revised Hours of Service regulations, comprised of various provisions that affect many drivers of commercial motor vehicles. In particular, two of the new provisions in the final rule have created unjustified hardships:
· Requiring that the restart rule to include two consecutive overnight periods from 1:00a.m – 5:00a.m.
· Restricting the use of the restart rule to only once every 168 hours (once a week).
Unfortunately, FMCSA failed to conduct the proper research and analysis of the safety impacts of moving so much truck traffic to the morning hours. In fact, the FMCSA Administrator recently testified before the House THUD subcommittee in April that the field study conducted did not address the safety and congestion impacts of large trucks being forced onto highways during daytime rush hours, when children are on their way to school.
Click here to read the findings of the American Transportation Research Institute’s peer-review of FMCSA’s field study findings, including ATRI’s finding that the new restart restrictions are pushing truck traffic into the morning commuting hours.
What the amendment does:
· Requires the FMCSA to conduct a study in order to assess the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts of the restart provision. This study will assess drivers’ safety critical events, fatigue and levels of alertness and driver health outcomes. This is what safety advocates have asked the Department to undertake. Further, in order to ensure that the study produces credible results, DOT’s Inspector General will review and comment on the Department’s plan as well as report to the Secretary and House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the study’s compliance with the requirements.
· Provides a temporary suspension of two provisions the two consecutive overnight periods from 1:00a.m. – 5:00a.m. and the use of the restart rule to only once every 168 hours (once a week) to lift the undue hardship while the Department conducts the study.
· The Secretary shall submit a final report on the findings and conclusions of the study and the Department’s recommendations on whether the provisions in effect on July 1, 2013, provide a greater net benefit for the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts of the restart provision.
· Provides $4 million in unobligated balances to conduct this study.
What the amendment does NOT do:
The amendment would not nullify the entire restart rule, or the entire set of hours of service rules, as some have erroneously stated. For example, the amendment would not make changes to:
· The minimum off-duty hours between shifts;
· The maximum on-duty period each shift;
· The maximum driving hours per day;
· The mandatory meal/rest break during a shift;
· The sleeper berth requirements for splitting off-duty time; and
· The electronic on-board recorders rule.
More than 90 associations and companies support this effort:
Air and Expedited Motor Carrier Association, Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation, American Apparel and Footwear Association, American Bakers Association, American Beverage Association, American Chemistry Council, American Trucking Association, Auto Haulers Association of America, C&S Wholesale Grocers, FedEx, UPS, Forest Resources Association, International Foodservice Distribution Association, National Association of Small Trucking Companies, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Chicken Council, National Federation of Independent Business, National Grocers Association, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Propane Gas Association, National Retail Federation, National Waste and Recycling Association, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Steel Manufacturers Association, Truckload Carriers Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, trucking associations from all 50 states, and so many more.