Industry Angered By HOS Changes But Pleased With ATRI Programby Jana Ritter - Published: 7/10/2013
Today, American Trucking Associations leaders praised the American Transportation Research Institute and its government and industry partners for their work in launching the North American Fatigue Management Program, which will provide a comprehensive approach to addressing driver alertness on our nation's highways.
"This program is a great example of industry organizations and regulators stepping forward to identify, provide and promote real solutions to improving the safety of our nation's highways," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "ATA has long believed that looking holistically at alertness and fatigue management, rather than relying on a prescriptive Band-Aid approach provided by the current hours-of-service regulatory system, is the best way to address the complex issues of human alertness and fatigue."
"Last week, we saw yet another new set of even more prescriptive hours-of-service rules go into effect," Graves continues to explain. "Such rules originated in the 1930s and while their basis may represent the best thinking and analysis of that time, in light of the research and work that ATRI and others have done, it is clear that an hours-of-service approach is insufficient relative to the more progressive and comprehensive strategies laid out here to promote driver alertness."
Its clear that truck drivers share the ATA's opinion of the HOS rules too. In fact, hardly any have had a positive thing to say about the new federal regulations limiting their working hours. “It sucks,” said Lois Dyer, 53 of Muldrow, Okla., half of an owner/operator team with her husband, Doug, 50. “We still haven't figured out how to do the 1 to 5.” For example, there's often a shortage of places where truckers can legally pull over for required 30-minute rest periods, which truckers have to take before hitting eight hours on the road, the Dyers explain.
Fred Hubert, 56 of Albuquerque agrees that the process of getting off and back on the road to take mandated breaks also wastes time that could be spent driving. Hubert also goes so far to say he thinks the regulations are an effort to generate government revenue through fines at the expense of truckers and trucking companies. He's referring to the fact that with new HOS changes, truckers can now face fines of up to $11,000 for companies and $2,750 for individual drivers for each offense.
Perhaps truck drivers will be as thankful as the ATA for the ATRI launching the NAFMP and working closely with a number of industry partners over the past 10 years. A list that includes Transport Canada, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and numerous U.S. and Canadian-based trucking fleets as well.
The program can be found online at www.NAFMP.com