FMCSA Denies Driverless Tech Maker’s Controversial Hours of Service Exemption Request
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has denied a driverless technology maker’s controversial request for an exemption to hours of service (HOS) rules.
In April, Pronto ai asked the FMCSA on behalf of its customers to grant a renewable five-year exemption from HOS rules to allow for an additional two hours of daily driving time and an extension of the daily on duty clock by one hour.
Specifically, Pronto ai argued its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), Copilot, in conjunction with the SmartDrive Video Safety Program, allows truckers to safely drive up to 13 hours during a period of 15 consecutive on duty hours because the technology “greatly mitigates the risks of driver distraction and inattentiveness and assists the driver in maintaining safe operations.”
Pronto ai also claimed its exemption should be granted because doing so would provide an incentive for motor carriers to invest in these costly technologies, which the FMCSA says will help reduce crashes and improve overall safety on our nation’s roadways.
The public comments on the petition were overwhelmingly in opposition with major trucking groups such as the Truckload Carriers Association and the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association expressing strong disagreement.
Click HERE to read what drivers had to say.
In the FMCSA’s denial to Pronto ai’s petition, the Agency indicated it had “no choice” but to refuse the request due to a lack of data supporting the technology maker’s claims.
“FMCSA is not aware of data or information that would enable the Agency to determine whether the advanced technology described by Pronto reduces the workload for CMV drivers to such an extent that additional driving time during the work shift should be allowed, or that individuals should be allowed to operate an extended work shift,” Acting Administrator Wiley Deck wrote. “Neither Pronto nor commenters supporting the exemption application provided data or information that would help to explain why this exemption would not reduce safety.”
Further, the FMCSA said that based upon currently available research regarding driver fatigue, “We do not believe there is a basis for allowing individuals to drive up to 13 hours during a work shift, or operate after the 14th hour after coming on duty (except during adverse driving conditions).”
The Agency also directly addressed Pronto ai’s claim that its ADAS technology mitigates driver fatigue.
“The premise that the use of advanced technology should reduce the workload on drivers appears reasonable on the surface but the absence of data or information to quantify the impact on driver fatigue and alertness leaves the Agency with no choice but to deny the application,” Acting Administrator Deck commented.
Click HERE to read the full denial notice.
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