ATRI study paints costly picture of US HoS changes

Truck News

ARLINGTON, Va. — A new report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) suggests impending changes to US hours-of-service rules will cost the trucking industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

Examining the new 34-hour restart provisions, which limit resets to one per week and require two overnight periods between 1 and 5 a.m., ATRI suggested the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) used flawed data to arrive at their projected cost savings to industry.

For starters, FMCSA used 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,” ATRI reported.

Also, the research body suggested the FMCSA’s research assigned the “industry costs associated with the change to only 15% of the driving population, ignoring operational changes and associated costs, which are likely to be experienced by a much larger percentage of drivers.”

Applying its own metrics, ATRI’s report has pegged total industry costs resulting from the 34-hour reset provisions, which go into effect July 1, at somewhere between $95 million and $376 million per year. That’s a far cry from the FMCSA’s purported net benefit of $133 million.

Those figures don’t even take into account the estimated $40 million the industry will spend on training and reprogramming of data-logging equipment.

“We know that the 34-hour restart changes are going to have a significant impact on our operations and across the entire supply chain,” said 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 1.”

ATRI’s analysis was based on survey data from more than 2,000 drivers with 500 motor carriers, as well as detailed logbook analysis from more than 40,000 drivers including more than 1.4 million individual driver logs.

A copy of this report is available from ATRI by clicking here.

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