WASHINGTON, D.C. — A leading researcher has accused the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of misrepresenting his work to support its case to revamp driver hours-of-service rules.
Dr. Francesco Cappuccio, a professor and researcher at Warwick Medical School in the U.K., reviewed 16 published studies on the effect of sleep duration on mortality. He also co-authored a 2007 study that the FMCSA, according to the American Trucking Associations, “leaned on most heavily to support its proposal” to rewrite hours-of-service legislation. The agency used Cappuccio’s study to conclude that short projected increases in sleep could generate roughly US$690 million in annual health benefits for drivers.
Cappuccio, however, has said the FMCSA cannot use his findings to quantify benefits to justify its proposed regulatory changes.
“(T)he current evidence…do(es) not support the conclusions of the FMCSA that a small increase in sleep duration of a few minutes following the HoS options proposed, particularly in the groups with baseline daily sleep of more than six hours per night, is likely to decrease the mortality risk of individuals or groups,” he reported.
He also said there is “no evidence to prove, that without additional measures, a simple reduction in work hours will result in increased sleep time.”
The ATA said Cappuccio’s comments are further evidence that the FMCSA’s proposed hours-of-service changes are flawed.
“American Trucking Associations has said since the outset that policy changes of this scope need to be based on sound science and research, not political pressure and unproven theories,” ATA president and CEO Bill Graves said. “The fact that this prominent physician and sleep researcher clearly states the agency is wrong to use his and others work in this way clearly exposes the serious flaws in this proposal.”
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