CBO Warns House Panel on Highway Trust Fund

on .


WASHINGTON — A congressional subcommittee received a grim picture Tuesday of what lies ahead for the Highway Trust Fund if Congress and the White House do not find a way to pay for transportation before the fund is declared insolvent in 2015.

That year, there will be about $50 billion in outlays — if spending levels are the same as 2013 — but only $40 billion in receipts, Kim Cawley of the Congressional Budget Office said at a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s highways subcommittee.

Continue reading at:

FMCSA Changes Instructions for Off-Duty Time

on .


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has simplified its instructions for driver off-duty time.

The old guidance said that the driver had to get written instructions from his employer spelling out how long the off-duty time would be.

Under the new guidance, effective today, there is no requirement for employer instructions, either written or verbal.

In a notice in today’s Federal Register, the agency said the old requirement had the effect of discouraging drivers from taking breaks or documenting those breaks in their logs.

It imposed a recordkeeping requirement but did require that records actually be kept. Also, it was not enforceable because it said the break had to be long enough to “significantly reduce” fatigue.

The new guidance says drivers may record meal and other routine stops, including the 30-minute break required by the new hours of service rule, as off-duty time provided they are relieved of duty for the truck and its cargo and they are at liberty to do what they want during the break.


Feds Consider Developing New Program to Measure Drivers’ Safety Performance

on .

By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the July 15 print edition of Transport Topics.

Federal officials said they are considering developing a program that would use truck drivers’ violation and inspection data to determine whether they are safe and take corrective action against unsafe ones.

In a report to Congress in June, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not commit to implementing what it called a “driver safety fitness determination” but said that it would involve a nine-year process of studying, testing and going through the regulatory process before such a program could be launched.

Continue reading at:

Newly Launched Website Provides One-Stop Shop for Driver Fatigue Management

on .

Arlington, VA – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today announced the launch of the North American Fatigue Management Program website,  The NAFMP provides a comprehensive approach to commercial driver fatigue management including:

  • Online fatigue management training for drivers, drivers’ families, carrier executives and managers, dispatchers and shippers/receivers;
  • Information on how to develop a corporate culture that facilitates reduced driver fatigue;
  • Information on sleep disorders screening and treatment;
  • Driver and trip scheduling information;
  • Information on Fatigue Management Technologies.

The NAFMP website also includes a Return-on-Investment calculator that allows motor carriers to estimate the cost-benefit of deploying the NAFMP in its entirety or select components in a customized program.

All of the NAFMP information and training is available on the website free of charge for interested parties. 

The NAFMP website represents the culmination of a decade of research, development and testing of a comprehensive fatigue management program.  Substantial financial and in-kind support was provided by the NAFMP partners including ATRI, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Transport Canada, Alberta Motor Transport Association, Alberta Occupational Health and Safety, Alberta Transportation, Alberta Workers Compensation Board, Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail du Québec and Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec.

ATRI will manage the NAFMP website on behalf of the NAFMP partners.

“It is rewarding to see ATRI’s 10-year involvement in the research and development of the NAFMP come to fruition,” commented ATRI President Rebecca Brewster.  “The NAFMP website will be a one-stop shop for carriers of all sizes to address the important issue of driver fatigue.”

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.

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

on .

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

 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.

Hours-Of-Service Changes Take Effect July 1st

on .


The enforcement date for the hours-of-service changes made final in December 2011 is July 1, the date when carriers and drivers will begin being held accountable for complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s on-duty requirements.

The most notable change to the hours rules are that drivers are now limited to one 34-hour restart per week, and every restart must include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods.

The rule has technically been effective since February of last year, but enforcement is scheduled to begin July 1. The American Trucking Associations is still fighting the rule in court, along with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, but prospects of the rule being overturned are slim. Mike Card, ATA chairman, even said in May at the Great West Fleet Executive Conference that ATA’s lawyers have advised them they’ll probably lose the case.

The rule does include, however, changes to what constitues on-duty time so that, so that drivers can count any time resting in a parked truck as off-duty. The amount of hours a driver can work in a week has been reduced, though, from 82 to 70.

The new rules also include penalties for carriers who allow drivers to “egregiously” violate HOS rules, with “egregious” defined as allowing a driver to drive more than three hours beyond the limit.

CCJ sister site Overdrive has a full report on the hours changes. Click here to see it.

Also, FMCSA has some informational charts on its website regarding the changes — Click here to see them.