No ETA for HOS study results, DOT chief says

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 9/19/2013

With less than two weeks before the deadline for an hours-of-service study to be submitted to Congress, DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx says he can’t predict when the study will be done.

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century – MAP-21 – mandated a study on the changes to the hours-of-service regulations with a deadline of Sept. 30 for the results to be submitted to Congress.

That likely will not happen according to a letter sent by Foxx to Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y. Hanna spearheaded an effort in Congress to call on FMCSA to expedite the study. The letter, signed by 51 lawmakers, voiced the lawmakers’ chagrin that the changes to hours of service went into effect before the study was completed.

“The commercial trucking industry is a pillar of the U.S. economy, and small, medium and large business across America depend on the on-time, cost-efficient, and safe transport of finished products and raw materials each day,” the lawmakers’ letter states. “It is imperative that the rules governing the commercial trucking industry be backed by factual, statistically valid and data-driven studies that are fully completed and analyzed before proposed rules come into effect.”

Foxx’s response letter said the study was mandated well after the HOS final rule was issued and implementation had begun.

“Further, the provision directed FMCSA to verify just one of the many findings from the Agency’s lengthy and comprehensive rulemaking process and did not direct the agency to delay any of the rule’s important safety benefits while the field study was being conducted,” Foxx wrote.

FMCSA completed the data collection portion of this study at the end of July and is currently in the final stages of analysis, Foxx said.

“The agency is committed to a robust and thorough analysis and will submit the report only after this process is completed and the results are scrutinized through peer review,” Foxx wrote. “As a result, at this time, I cannot predict the date on which the full report will be completed and submitted to Congress, but I assure you that we are working as expeditiously as possible.”

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