There were two important events affecting the transportation sector this week. Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21-9 to approve the Collins Amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act of 2015. Senator Collins amendment suspends the new Hours of Service restart rules for 1 year while the FMCSA undertakes an extensive study on the issue.
The second event occurring this week was a hearing held by the Senate Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security which took testimony in an effort to produce a transportation reauthorization bill. As you may know, the current bill, MAP-21, expires at the end of this fiscal year. FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro provided testimony on a host of issues affecting the trucking industry. In her testimony, she discussed medical examiners, Hours of Service rules, Electronic Logging Devices, and the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule.
Administrator Ferro was questioned extensively on the Hours of Service rules by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Senator Ayotte asked tough questions regarding the “rigorous analysis” the FMCSA has conducted noting the small of a sample size of FMCSA’s study. The study focused on 106 drivers over the span of an average of 12 days. Administrator Ferro claimed the study was statistically relevant considering it is the most comprehensive study on the topic to date.
Sen. Ayotte also pointed out that the Hours of Service restart rules force more truck drivers to drive during the daytime. Administrator Ferro responded arguing that increased truck driver alertness caused by the Hours of Service rules will more than offset the safety concerns raised by a higher volume of trucks on the road during the day. She admitted, however, that no data has been done regarding the number of additional trucks on the road during the day as a result of the service hour requirement.
To view this hearing, please click here.
President & CEO,
Commercial Vehicle Training Association