Thursday, May 19, 2016

Citing safety concerns, National ATA urges Congress to protect the HOS restart

The American Trucking Associations has renewed its request for Congress to quickly advance legislation that would maintain the current restart rule, which gives professional truck drivers flexibility in taking extended off-duty periods without restrictions.

“We have said since the broad framework of the current hours-of-service rules went into effect in 2004 – complying with these rules improves safety,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “The flexibility to take additional rest that the restart provided for a decade, and is providing now, allows drivers to get additional off-duty time and rest, and we shouldn’t be putting restrictions on that – certainly not ones that have been shown to push truck traffic into riskier daytime hours.”

“The restart has helped facilitate safety improvements in the trucking industry over the last 10 to 12 years,” Dave Osiecki, executive vice president and chief of national advocacy, said in a video explaining the current situation with the restart.

ATA is pleased that despite sensational media reports, and misinformation fomented by anti-truck advocacy groups, both the House and Senate have advanced legislation that would remove the threat of the restart being eliminated as a result of a drafting error in last year’s Omnibus appropriations bill.

Basic facts to consider in support of current rule:

  • Truck-involved fatal crashes are down 21 percent since the current hours-of-service and restart rule framework went into effect in 2004.
  • Fatigue is not the leading cause of truck-involved crashes according to the federal government; speeding and aggressive driving by other vehicles far outpaces truck driver fatigue as a contributor to crashes.
  • The American Transportation Research Institute found an uptick in crashes after the restart restrictions were imposed in 2013 as a result of a shift of more truck traffic to daytime hours.
  • In surveys, professional drivers consistently say the current restart rules aid them in getting more rest and allowing them more time at home.

For more facts on the restart, as well as the trucking industry full position on the HOS debate, click here.

“Congress’ intent in last year’s Omnibus spending bill was clear: Unless these new restrictions on the restart are shown to measurably improve safety and driver health, they should not be imposed,” Osiecki said. “As it stands, because of this glitch in the wording of that bill, the restart could be eliminated, and Congress should address that swiftly so our industry can continue safely moving America’s goods without needless upheaval and confusion.”