Study says hours-of-service changes will cost much more than FMCSA anticipates

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Updated Jun 19, 2013

The new 34-hour restart requirements of the hours-of-service regulation changes set to become effective July 1 rely on skewed data and are likely to burden the industry with a cost $322 million more a year than the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says adaptation to the new rules will cost, according to a study released this week by the American Transportation Research Institute.

ATRI is the research wing of the American Trucking Associations, which has been battling the hours-of-service changes in court.

One of the conclusions of ATRI’s report are that the 34-hour restart provisions that limit the use of a restart to once a week and the requirement that two resting periods occur between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. are based on a “biased dataset of driver logs from carriers undergoing compliance reviews and safety audits.”

The other is that FMCSA’s calculation that the industry will see a benefit of $133 million a year based on the restart provisions is way off, and that the  provisions will actually cost the industry $189 million and change each year, “based on a conservative estimate of 15 minutes per week lost by the average driver due to productivity losses” not found in FMCSA’s figures, says ATRI’s report. The difference results in what ATRI says is a $322 million miscalculation.

ATRI attributes the discrepancy to lack of calculation by FMCSA of limiting driver productivity, lost work hours, increased congestion, increased restart times and potential increase in shipper costs.

Click here to get a copy of ATRI’s report.

It analyzed survey data from 2,000 drivers and 500 carriers and looked at a logbook data from 40,000 drivers and 1.4 million individual driver logs.