Friday, May 6, 2011 – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Friday, May 6, that it is adding four new research studies to the materials it will look at in deciding what changes, if any, to make in the hours-of-service rules.
The studies were placed in the official rulemaking docket May 6.
“These studies appear to be placed into the docket as some sort of scientific justification to reduce drivers’ hours of service, mandate breaks, reduce workday, and reduce usability of the 34-hour restart provision,” said OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz.
The four studies are:
- The Impact of Driving, Non-Driving Work, and Rest Breaks on Driving Performance in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations;
- Hours of Service and Driver Fatigue-Driver Characteristics Research;
- Analysis of the Relationship Between Operator Cumulative Driving Hours and Involvement in Preventable Collisions; and
- Potential Causes of Driver Fatigue: A Study on Transit Bus Operators in Florida.
On Friday, Candice Tolliver, FMCSA’s communications director, said that FMCSA expects that the Federal Register will publish the notice on the HOS studies on Monday, May 9. Tolliver said the public will have 30 days from the date of publication to comment on the four additional HOS research studies and their relationship to the proposed HOS rule.
The reopening is only for comments on the new studies. The new comment opportunity will extend the final rule publication date, which was set for July 26.
Tolliver said that in the coming weeks the FMCSA will provide an update on when the agency will issue a final rule.
In its announcement, FMCSA said that “parties to the settlement” had been notified of the extension. This refers to the lawsuit that forced the agency to retool the HOS rules in the first place.
“The fact that those who have legally challenged the current HOS rules seem so ready to acquiesce to another delay is indicative that these studies will be used to justify decisions favorable to the litigants,” said Rajkovacz.
The new research information is now posted on the OOIDA website. Click here to review all four studies. To submit comments, follow directions at the end of the page.
“You can have innumerable studies on ways to tweak the current system, but the simple fact is the safety record of trucking under the current HOS has steadily improved to record low fatalities and crashes,” said Rajkovacz. “All the studies in the world should not supplant that fact.”