GAO Report Finds Hours of Service Rules Paying Dividends

During the nearly 18 months in which the new HOS provisions were in effect, the GAO report found evidence of reduced driver fatigue and increased roadway safety: fewer fatal crashes, fewer drivers working the maximum schedules, and no increase in crashes during the 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. morning rush hour.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has agreed to implement recommendations contained in a new U.S. Government Accountability Office report that examined FMCSA's 2014 study on the hours-of-service changes that were implemented in 2013. These rules govern the amount of time commercial truck drivers transporting freight can work and drive on a daily and weekly basis.

"This GAO report provides further evidence that the changes FMCSA made to the HOS rules improve highway safety by saving lives and lowering the risk of driver fatigue," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "This reinforces our belief that these lifesaving measures are critical to keeping people safe on the roads. We value the GAO's independent review and will use their recommendations to further strengthen our department's research to ensure that we have the best data available to keep our roads safe."

During the nearly 18 months in which the new HOS provisions were in effect, the GAO report found evidence of reduced driver fatigue and increased roadway safety: fewer fatal crashes, fewer drivers working the maximum schedules, and no increase in crashes during the 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. morning rush hour.

"Our agency's mission is safety, and we're pleased that the GAO's findings provide evidence of the positive impact of the 2011 hours of service rules," said FMCSA Chief Counsel Scott Darling. "We view this report as a confirmation that our commitment to continually refining our research efforts to focus on the most effective safety outcomes is paying dividends."

GAO's report recommended that DOT adopt formal guidance outlining its research standards and suggested that Congress consider directing DOT to study and report on how electronically collected driver schedule data can be extracted, stored, and analyzed in a way that addresses cost and privacy concerns.

DOT reported that FMCSA is on track to follow these recommendations and will release a final rule this fall requiring interstate truck and bus companies to convert from paper logbooks to electronic logging devices to record and store drivers' schedule data.

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