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New Research Identifies Significant Flaws in 34-Hour Restart Benefit Cost Calculations

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Arlington, VA - The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today released the findings of its assessment of the Regulatory Impact Analysis used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to justify changes to the 34-hour restart provision, which are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2013. 

The sweeping changes to the Hours-of-Service rules proposed by FMCSA include two new 34-hour restart provisions which limit use of the restart by truck drivers to one per week (168 hours) and a requirement that the restart include two overnight periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.  ATRI’s analysis quantifies a delta between FMCSA’s purported industry benefit and actual industry costs resulting from the restart changes of more than $322 million. 

Among the flaws in the FMCSA Regulatory Impact Analysis identified by ATRI are:

  • The reliance by FMCSA on a biased dataset of driver logs from carriers undergoing compliance reviews and safety audits, skewing the data toward drivers operating at the higher limits of available hours.
  • The assignment of industry costs associated with the change to only 15 percent of the driving population, ignoring operational changes and associated costs which are likely to be experienced by a much larger percentage of drivers.

ATRI’s analysis is based on industry survey data of over 2,000 commercial drivers and 500 motor carriers as well a detailed analysis of logbook data representing 40,000+ commercial drivers and over 1.4 million individual driver logs.

 “We know that the 34-hour restart changes are going to have a significant impact on our operations and across the entire supply chain,” commented Steve Niswander, vice president of Safety Policy and Regulatory Relations for Groendyke Transport and chairman of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee. “ATRI’s analysis clearly documents the costs that our fleet and fleets across the country are likely to experience when these changes take effect on July 1st.”

 A copy of this report is available from ATRI at www.atri-online.org

 ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization.  It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.