NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


Statement from NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman on new FMCSA Hours of Service rule

December 23, 2011

For more than two decades, the NTSB has called for changes in hours of service (HOS) rules for commercial drivers. In that time, a final HOS rule has been stuck in a perpetual traffic circle of rulemaking actions, legal challenges, and court decisions. I applaud Secretary LaHood and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Ferro for their leadership and determination in finalizing this HOS rule and hope that it will result in forward progress on safety.

The NTSB has investigated too many highway crashes involving commercial vehicles in which we identified the driver's fatigue as a contributing factor to the accident. Today's new rule is an important step forward, but without a strong program by FMCSA and its State partners to ensure compliance with these new HOS requirements, it will only be as good as the paper it is written on. We encourage FMCSA to continue its work on a number of fronts, including its proposed rule for mandatory use of Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBR), which offer the most promising technology for monitoring HOS compliance for all carriers.

Addressing fatigue is not the sole responsibility of the DOT. The industry needs to support this rule with comprehensive Fatigue Risk Management Systems that reduce the risk of fatigue through education and diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Drivers need to be rested and ready when they take to the highways so that everyone arrives at their destination safely.

NTSB Public Affairs: 202-314-6100

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.