The American Transportation Research Institute on Monday released the findings of its assessment of the regulatory impact analysis used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to justify changes to the 34-hour restart provision, scheduled to take effect July 1.

The sweeping changes to the hours-of-service rules include two new 34-hour restart provisions, limiting the use of the restart by truck drivers to one per week (168 hours) and a requirement that the restart include two overnight periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. 

ATRI says it discovered flaws in FMCSA’s regulatory impact analysis including a reliance by the agency on a biased set of driver logs from carriers undergoing compliance reviews and safety audits. This it claims skews the data toward drivers operating at the higher limits of available hours. The result, says ATRI, will result in a cost to the trucking industry of nearly $190 million annually, compared to what the FMCSA says will be a savings of nearly $135 million each year.

It says it also found the assignment of 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.

ATRI’s analysis is based on industry survey data of over 2,000 commercial drivers and 500 motor carriers as well a detailed analysis of logbook data representing more than 40,000 commercial drivers and over 1.4 million individual driver logs.

“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 1st.”

ATRI is the research arm of the American Trucking Associations, which has voiced stiff opposition to changing hours-of-service regulations.

 A copy of this report is available from ATRI web site.