FMCSA rejects ATRI criticism of HOS restart study

April 24, 2014
Agency: Outside report seeks to "cloud the fact" restart provision has been shown to be effective

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has told FleetOwner that it stands by the validity of its field-study report on the efficacy of  the restart provisions within the current Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule in the face of a witheringly negative analysis of that report released this week by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

“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,” FMCSA Director of Communications Marissa Padilla told FleetOwner.” A well-rested commercial driver is a safer driver.”
Padilla went on to state that the “third-party study [commissioned by FMCSA] released earlier this year is one of the largest real-world studies ever conducted with commercial drivers and [it] found that drivers who began their work week following a 34-hour restart break with just one nighttime period of rest, as compared to two” experienced:

  • More lapses of attention, especially at night
  • Greater sleepiness, especially toward the end of their duty periods
  • Increased lane deviation (i.e., more variability in lateral lane position) in the morning, afternoon and at night

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro noted back in January when the agency’s field study was released that it “confirms the science we used to make the hours-of-service rule more effective at preventing crashes that involve sleepy or drowsy truck drivers.

“For the small percentage of truckers that average up to 70 hours of work a week, two nights of rest is better for their safety and the safety of everyone on the road,” Ferro added.

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