ATRI find fault with FMCSA study

By: Brooke Wisdom

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has taken on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) field study on the new hours of service (HOS) rules and found it to be flawed. The FMCSA HOS study was the result of a directive contained in Congress’s MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) legislation that went into effect July 1, 2013. MAP-21 required the FMCSA to research whether or not the HOS restart provisions included in it were effective.

HOS restart rulesThe subsequent FMCSA study, which tested 106 truck drivers and measured fatigue factors during two duty cycles and two restart breaks, claimed its results supported the effectiveness of the restart rule. After researching the study, however, ATRI says it has found a “variety of technical issues related to research design flaws, validity of measurement techniques and interpretations and data conflicts within and across the study.”

The following are issues the ATRI has with the FMCSA study:

  • The measured restarts range from 34 hours to an unknown/non-limited number of hours off-duty.
  • There is less than 12 days’ worth of data for each of only 106 drivers.
  • Testing showed attention lapses in both duty cycle groups without demonstrating a correlation.
  • Both duty cycle groups had similar lane deviation measurements.
  • There was only a 6 minute difference each day in sleep.
  • Average driver scores did not indicate any level of sleepiness.
  • Drivers in the “two or more nighttime” group are more likely to drive during the day (the time of greatest crash risk.

The FMCSA study has been the subject of criticism from those in the trucking industry as well as members of Congress. In fact, Congress asked the Government Accountability Office to make an evaluation of the FMCSA study.

“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. ATRI’s analysis raises enough questions about FMCSA’s own study that should compel a comprehensive review of the entire rule,” said Steve Rush, President of  Wharton, NJ-based Carbon Express, Inc.

bbwisdom

I have a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and have been with Randall-Reilly's editorial department for more than 13 years. I am now a contributing editor to Randall-Reilly's Recruiting Media division.

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