On November 21, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-New York), Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, called a hearing, WRONG WAY: The Impact of FMCSA’s Hours of Service Regulation on Small Businesses, with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne Ferro as the principal witness. Republican members of the panel—Chairman Hanna, Rep. Scott Tipton (Colorado), Rep. Tom Rice (South Carolina), and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kansas)—questioned FMCSA’s claim that HOS’s impact on trucking productivity and flexibility was minimal, affecting only 15% of truck traffic and affecting that portion insignificantly. Panelists also questioned whether FMCSA’s conclusion that the new HOS rule would reduce truck-related fatalities by 0.5% per year—19 lives—was defensible statistically, and whether this projection accounted for fatigue and stress factors the rule had introduced (for instance, by forcing trucks to travel in congested traffic).
Ferro disputed the conclusions of a survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute—ATRI—claiming that the HOS rule had caused dramatic and adverse impacts, both on the trucking sector’s bottom line and on drivers’ (and the public’s) safety, by suggesting that its statistical controls were inadequate and the sample was unrepresentative; however, she offered to examine its methodology and statistical method and revise this claim, if necessary.
Panelists also heard testimony on behalf of truckers and related interests from the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Transportation Intermediaries Association, and the Larson Transportation Institute.