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ATRI finds problems with FMCSA hours-of-service report

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released the findings of its examination of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) field study report regarding new hours-of-service rules,...

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released the findings of its examination of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) field study report regarding new hours-of-service rules, and the conclusion isn’t good. 
FMCSA was instructed by Congress as a part of MAP-21 to study the effectiveness of the restart provisions. The study collected fatigue measurements from 106 truck drivers during two duty cycles that had two restart breaks. 
FMCSA claims the study supported the efficacy of the new restart rule, but ARTI identified multiple technical issues including research design flaws, problems with the validitiy of measurement techniques and data conflicts within the study. 
The following issues with FMCSA’s report according to ATRI’s official Technical Memorandum are as follows: 
  •        The field study report purports to have measured differences between restarts with one and two nighttime periods (1 a.m. to 5 .a.m.) but instead measured differences in restarts that range from 34 hours to an unknown/non-limited number of hours off-duty.
  •        MAP-21 required that the field study be “representative of the drivers and motor carriers regulated by the hours of service regulations” but the study includes, on average, less than 12 days’ worth of data for each of only 106 drivers.
  •        The FMCSA field study does not present research to support the limitation of the use of the 34-hour restart to once per week (168 hours).
  •          Use of the 3-minute Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) showed lapses of attention by drivers in both duty cycle groups, but offered no link between the average number of lapses, fatigue and the safe operation of commercial vehicles.
  •          The two duty cycle groups had lane deviation measurements that differed by 1/10th of a centimeter and the study authors provide no evidence that these findings are relevant or have a nexus to driver fatigue in either of the two groups.
  •        The difference in sleep obtained by the two duty cycle groups on their restart breaks differed by only six minutes per 24-hour period.
  •         Average driver scores on the subjective sleepiness scale did not indicate any level of sleepiness.
  •        The study confirms that drivers in the “two or more nighttime” group are more likely to drive during the day; a time when FMCSA’s own data shows a higher crash risk.
“FMCSA has heard loud and clear from carriers and drivers that the new rules are not advancing safety and are creating additional stress and fatigue on the part of truck drivers,” said Steve Rush, President of Carbon Express.  “ATRI’s analysis raises enough questions about FMCSA’s own study that should compel a comprehensive review of the entire rule.”

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5 Comments » for ATRI finds problems with FMCSA hours-of-service report
  1. John says:

    FMCSA as we can now see throw thow the dart in the dart board to make a new rule, even when changes make drivers more unsafe. Politics will end up killing more people than anything else

  2. Patricia says:

    I have a hard time understanding how a bunch of people with a University diploma, who probably don’t even know what a truck looks like inside, can make all of these rules. . . They really do not know what they are talking about… they should all be required to do a two week ‘study’ from the point of view of a crew member sitting right next to the driver

  3. Marc says:

    The only way these pointy heads will be happy, is if we are NEVER on
    duty, lets see how long that would last before they run out of

  4. Joe says:

    Unless a driver sleeps the full 10 hrs for his sleeper berth which we all know most people don’t i fail to see how that enhances safety. From a practical point of view doesn’t having to sit and anxiusly wait around needlesly for your restart wouldn’t that promote fatigue. It just makes more sense to allow a split in sleeper berth time especially when you consider the 10 off rule and 2 consecutive nights off. With a split in sleeper berth hrs drivers would sleep the full 10. Surely anyone with any common sense could see that.

  5. John C says:

    These new HOS regulations are to improve what exactly? Patricia said it right , have them in the truck on a long haul / short haul / and everything in between for 2 weeks , lets see what there studies come up with then!!! I know myself when i’m tired , I take a break , or have a nap, only I know when i’m focussed and safe, any professional truck driver has there agenda to operating in a safe manner, nobody knows our bodys like we know our own.Fortunately I mainly run in Canada, but when I run the US. lanes i’m fatigued already by this new HOS !!! Doesn’t government have anything else better to waste time on ?? Regards be safe !and courteous.

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