Road safety group says new fatality data justifies HOS changes

Arlington, VA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration preliminary data on truck crash fatalities in 2010 "contradicts" trucking industry claims that current hours-of-service rules for truck drivers have led to decreased fatalities and do not need to be changed, the Truck Safety Coalition said in a recently released statement.

Citing concerns about driver fatigue, FMCSA is proposing to decrease the daily number of hours drivers are allowed to operate commercial motor vehicles to 10 from the current 11. Opponents of the proposed rule, which is under review at the Office of Management and Budget, have cited data showing that the truck crash fatality rate significantly decreased between 2007 and 2009, when the current 11-hour limit was partially in effect.

In Nov. 30 testimony (.pdf file) before a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee, FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said preliminary data shows “the downward trend reversed” in the second half of 2010.

The Truck Safety Coalition claims the “critical” 2010 data revealed by Ferro justifies FMCSA’s proposed rule. “We need a new HOS rule, and we urge the trucking industry to face up to the fact that fatigue is pervasive in the industry,” TSC Executive Director John Lannel said in the statement.

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