12/22/2011 5:15:00 PM
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Groups Say Changes Will Cause Congestion, Wonâ€™t Improve Safety
Trucking and shippers groups reacted swiftly and negatively to the Department of Transportationâ€™s final hours-of-service rule, citing the potential for more congestion and saying it will not improve highway safety.
On the other side of the issue, a citizensâ€™ safety group also said the rule was flawed, though for different reasons.
Click here for TTâ€™s Special Report on the HOS rule. (TT subscription or 14-day pass required.)
The final rule â€œputs safety in the back seat,â€� American Trucking Associations said in a statement following the ruleâ€™s release Thursday.
â€œEven with an uptick in truck-involved fatalities in 2010, since the current rules went into effect in 2004, fatalities have fallen 29.9%, even as overall miles traveled for trucks has risen by tens of billions of miles,â€� said ATA Chairman Dan England, chairman of truckload carrier C.R. England.
DOTâ€™s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration â€œset itself on a course to fix a rule thatâ€™s not only not broken, but by all objective accounts is working to improve highway safety,â€� added ATA President Bill Graves.
â€œUnfortunately, along the way, FMCSA twisted data and, as part of this final rule, is using unjustified causal estimates to justify unnecessary changes,â€� Graves said in a statement.
Kelly Kolb, vice president of the a shippersâ€™ group Retail Industry Leaders Association, said that â€œrather than encouraging greater efficiency, the [HOS rule] increase transportation costs, congestion and pollution by funneling more trucks onto the roads at peak times.â€�
DOTâ€™s own studies show that traffic congestion costs the U.S. economy $87.2 billion per year, with 4.2 billion hours and 2.8 billion gallons of fuel spent sitting in traffic, RILA said.
The National Retail Federation, which also represents shippers, said it â€œwelcomedâ€� continuation of the 11-hours per day limit but but expressed concern over a new requirement for longer weekly breaks.
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