Study Casts Doubt on Proposed HOS Rule's Economics, Safety Issues, ATA Says



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 Updated:
2/17/2011 4:30:00 PM

FMCSA Hosts Listening Session Thursday on Hours Rule

An analysis of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed hours-of-service rule released by American Trucking Associations found that the agency “wildly overstated the proposal’s benefits� and that it would cost, not save, the trucking industry money.

The economic review by consulting firm Edgeworth Economics found that FMCSA used questionable logic, inadequate data and sloppy math in attempting to justify its proposed changes to the HOS rule, ATA said.

The study said that while FMCSA claims its proposal would result in up to $380 million in annual benefits, it would actually result in costs of about $320 million a year — a $700 million swing.

Edgeworth has done economic studies work for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, among others.

ATA released the findings late Wednesday, on the eve of a public HOS “listening session� to be held Thursday in Washington. The group has urged its members to voice their opposition to the proposed changes. The group posted the study’s results on its website. (PDF)

“FMCSA has made a number of substantial changes to its approach since the previous [regulatory impact analysis] issued in 2007,� the report said. “We find that, in every instance, FMCSA’s new methodologies and assumptions increase the apparent net benefits of the proposed rule. However, many of FMCSA’s new approaches rely on misapplication of available data, use outdated information, or lack empirical support entirely.�

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The study said that FMCSA made unreasonable assumptions about the safety of the trucking industry by sampling only carriers it subjected to a compliance review, and that in formulating its proposal the agency used crash data collected before the current rules went into effect, ignoring their positive safety impact on the industry.

“Edgeworth’s analysis pretty clearly shows that FMCSA’s proposal isn’t rooted in sound science, good data or logic, and can’t stand up to scrutiny,� ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement.

“The findings of this study match what we’ve heard from our members and what ATA has been saying since FMCSA launched this ill-conceived overhaul of these rules: As proposed, the new rules would impose significant costs on the trucking industry without improving safety. These rules are a cure for a disease that we don’t have,� Graves said.




© 2010, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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