Anti-truck groups seek to dismantle successful HOS safety rule
Nov 30, 2011 11:49 AM
In advance of today’s hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves questioned the aims of groups pressing the federal government to dismantle a successful driver hours-of-service regulation.
“Since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) first revised the hours-of-service rules in 2004, a coalition of advocacy groups and organized labor, abetted by their political allies have tried through lobbying and litigation to undo what has proven to be a successful regulation,” Graves said. “Since these rules went into effect, fatal crashes involving large trucks are down 32%, even as truck miles traveled have increased. These rules are working, so we have to ask: what part of success troubles these groups?
“It is apparent to us that since these crusaders cannot win an argument on the merits, as shown in analysis after analysis of FMCSA’s proposal, they now are attempting to use our country’s weak economy as a wedge, arguing for this rule simply because it will reduce productivity and create driving jobs,” Graves said. “What this rule will do, if enacted as proposed, is force fleets to put even more trucks on the road, which elevates the risk of a crash. ATA will not support rules that create more exposure to crashes for professional drivers or for the motoring public.”
ATA estimates that if enacted, the proposed new rules would reduce productivity by a minimum of 5%, which artificially creates a need for at least 115,000 additional trucks to haul the nation’s freight. These trucks will need to travel an estimated five billion miles to deliver their goods and, given the most recent crash rates, could lead to an additional 52 fatal crashes and nearly 900 injury crashes.
“By baselessly cutting the productivity of the industry, these alleged champions of safety will, by forcing thousands of additional drivers and vehicles onto the highway, make our roads less safe,” Graves said. “The highway is our workplace, and we have a vested interest in making it safer for everyone. If compelling evidence existed that the changes these groups want would increase safety, we would embrace it. However, the FMCSA itself said in its proposal the safety benefits of this rule do not outweigh the costs.
“Rules should be written based on sound data and research, not the theories of outside interest groups. We hope and trust the factual record, and not politics will guide policymakers as they complete their review of this rule.”
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