HOS Changes Resulted In ‘Statistically Significant Increase In Truck Crashes’

The National Transportation Safety Board this week announced that trucking safety is listed on its list of the NTSB's Most Wanted List for 2015.

The American Transportation Research Institute released the results of a study of the “safety and operational impacts from the 34-hour restart provisions.”

For the study, ATRI analyzed truck GPS data to identify changes in truck travel by time of day and day of the week after the July 1, 2013 change to HOS restart provisions.

In addition, ATRI analyzed crash data from several years prior to the July 1 HOS changes in order to “quantify safety impacts resulting from the HOS rules change implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.”

The data showed a shift in truck traffic from nighttime driving to daytime driving and a shift away from weekend driving to weekday driving, when traffic is more congested.

The results of the study showed a “statistically significant increase in truck crashes after the July 1, 2013 rule change, specifically with injury and towaway crashes.”

ATRI states that an increase in injury and tow away crashes is to be expected as trucks are dealing with increased traffic exposure.

ATRI’s report offers these possible explanations for the GPS and crash data findings as a result of operational changes the industry had to make post-July 1, 2013. Among these are:

-Drivers abandoning use of the more restrictive 34-hour restart in favor of the rolling recap.
-Expanded use of weekend productivity by drivers, particularly Friday into early Saturday driving.
-Earlier weekend dispatches for drivers to avoid disruptions to early week (Monday-Tuesday) operations.

“After many years of crash decreases, everyone knows our industry has experienced an uptick in crashes,” said Dean Newell, Vice President, Safety of Maverick USA, Inc. and a member of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee. “This latest analysis from ATRI validates both changes in operations and crash risk that seem to be associated with the restart rule. Regulations should serve to improve safety, not create additional safety risks.”