The Federal Motor Carrir Safety Administration has voiced its support of a U.S. Government Accountability Office report that examined the hours-of-service changes that were implemented in 2013.
The GAO report reviewed the rule’s assumptions and effects and made recommendations on how to implement the rule. FMCSA agreed with GAO’s review and felt that it supported the lifesaving aspects of the rule.
“This reinforces our belief that these life saving measures are critical to keeping people safe on the roads,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We value the GAO’s independent review and will use their recommendations to further strengthen our Department’s research to ensure that we have the best data available to keep our roads safe.”
During the 18 months that the restart provisions were in effect, the GAO report found evidence of reduced driver fatigue and improved road safety.
The report found that there were fewer fatal crashes, few drivers working maximum schedules, lower risk of driver fatigue and no increase in crashes during the 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. morning rush hour.
The HOS report also supported the provision that requires driver to take a restart to be off-duty for two nights, concluding that it does reduce fatigue.
“Our agency’s mission is safety, and we’re pleased that the GAO’s findings provide evidence of the positive impact of the 2011 hours-of-service rules,” said Scott Darling, FMCSA Chief Counsel. “We view this report as a confirmation that our commitment to continually refining our research efforts to focus on the most effective safety outcomes is paying dividends.”
GAO also recommended adopting a formal guidance outlining agency research standards for the Department of Transportation. It also prompted Congress to direct DOT to study and report on how electronically collected driver data can be used to analysis without violating privacy concerns.
FMCSA indicated that it is on track to follow the GAO’s recommendations and said that a Final Rule will be released this fall requiring interstate truck and bus companies to convert from paper to electronic logging devices for recording and storing driver schedule data.
FMCSA also supports Congress modifying the MAP-21 restrictions to clarify that FMCSA may use ELD data for research.
“This GAO report provides further evidence that the changes FMCSA made to the HOS rules improve highway safety by saving lives and lowering the risk of driver fatigue,” said Foxx.