The American Trucking Associations submitted comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on hours of service rules Wednesday, calling for increased flexibility in the sleeper berth provision.
While the ATA believes the current federal hours of service rules are working, the association emphasized the need for additional flexibility to further improve driver alertness.

The group said the current rules have contributed to improved safety performance since 2004, with the truck-involved fatality rate down 12.3 percent in 2008 to 1.86 per 100 million miles from 2.12 per 100 million miles in 2007. This is the largest year-to-year drop ever and the fifth straight year the fatality rate has fallen, the ATA noted.

In addition, persons injured in large truck crashes went from 44.4 per 100 million miles to 39.6, an 11 percent drop. Since 2004, the number of large truck crash injuries per 100 million miles has dropped 25 percent and the truck-involved fatality rate is down 22 percent.

ATA told the FMCSA it should focus on addressing the true causes of fatigue in transportation, including:

* Sleep disorder awareness, training and screening
* Promoting the use of fatigue risk management programs
* Evaluating the use of fatigue detection devices
* Increasing the availability of truck parking on important freight corridors
* Partnering with the trucking and shipping communities to develop an educational process that identifies the location of available truck parking