Restart Rule Needs Re-Boot: Truck Researchers Say
ARLINGTON, VA - -The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has just released an analysis of the hours-of-service restart rules that went into effect July, 2013.
But according to the renowned American transportation consultants American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), they should really get back to the drawing board.
“ATRI’s analysis [of the FMCSA report] raises enough questions about FMCSA’s own study that should compel a comprehensive review of the entire rule,” comments Steve Rush, President of Carbon Express, Inc. in Wharton, NJ.
“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,” he added.
According to the ATRI, the FMCSA study suffered from design flaws, less-than-perfect measurement techniques and conflicting data.
The FMCSA study was completed as part of the Obama government’s MAP-21—a long-term surface transportation plan released in 2012.
Here’s what ATRI found was troubling about the FMCSA methodology:
· “The field study report purports to have measured differences between restarts with one and two nighttime periods (1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.) but instead measured differences in restarts that range from 34 hours to an unknown/non-limited number of hours off-duty.
· “MAP-21 required that the field study be ‘representative of the drivers and motor carriers regulated by the hours of service regulations’ but the study includes, on average, less than 12 days’ worth of data for each of only 106 drivers.
· “The FMCSA field study does not present research to support the limitation of the use of the 34-hour restart to once per week (168 hours).
· “Use of the three-minute Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) showed lapses of attention by drivers in both duty cycle groups, but offered no link between the average number of lapses, fatigue and the safe operation of commercial vehicles.
· “The two duty cycle groups had lane deviation measurements that differed by 1/10th of a centimeter and the study authors provide no evidence that these findings are relevant or have a nexus to driver fatigue in either of the two groups.
· “The difference in sleep obtained by the two duty cycle groups on their restart breaks differed by only six minutes per 24-hour period.
· “Average driver scores on the subjective sleepiness scale did not indicate any level of sleepiness.
· The study confirms that drivers in the ‘two or more nighttime’ group are more likely to drive during the day; a time when FMCSA’s own data shows a higher crash risk.