In testimony June 18 before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s panel on highways and transit, Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Maverick USA, said upcoming changes to federal hours-of-service (HOS) rules are costly and unsupported by data or research.
“FMCSA’s motivation to change these rules was not based on evidence demonstrating a problem,” said Williams, a past American Trucking Associations (ATA) chairman and the current chairman of the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). “FMCSA’s three paragraph statement in the rulemaking called ‘The Purpose and Need for Regulatory Action’ did not cite any research or data analysis showing a problem. That speaks volumes.”
Williams cited an ATRI report that found “statistically significant” declines in the number of crashes under the basic framework of the current rules. Specifically he pointed to a 31% drop in preventable collisions between 2004 and 2009.
“The industry will lose operating flexibility and productivity, and the rules will increase driver stress and frustration,” he said, noting an estimated 1.5% to 4% reduction in productivity will translate to “between $500 million and $1.4 billion in lost productivity.”
Williams also said that it is “difficult, bordering on impossible, to accept FMCSA’s suggestion that corresponding benefits will result from these changes and that they will somehow offset all the costs.”
Pointing to an ATRI study released June 17, Williams said “FMCSA’s claim that 15% of drivers work more than 70 hours per week to be grossly overstated” and that after correcting that false assumption “the pending restart changes would have a net annual cost (not a benefit) to industry and society.”
Because of FMCSA’s flawed analysis and process, Williams called on Congress to postpone the July 1 effective date of these rules until the agency completes mandated research on the rule. He also asked Congress to request independent analysis of the regulation and to require FMCSA to report to Congress on any future changes to the hours-of-service rules.