A prominent researcher who worked directly on the primary scientific studies that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration used to support its proposed changes to the current hours-of-service (HOS) rules said the agency misapplied those studies’ findings, according to a statement from the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

According to the ATA statement, FMCSA used the [removed]work[/removed] of Dr Francesco Cappuccio, a physician, professor, and researcher at Warwick Medical School in the United Kingdom, who reviewed 16 published studies on the effect of sleep duration on mortality and coauthored a 2007 study that the agency leaned on most heavily to support its proposal. FMCSA used this study to conclude that short projected increases in sleep could generate roughly $690 million in annual health benefits for drivers.

In a new report, Cappuccio states that FMCSA cannot use his research to quantify benefits to justify its regulatory changes. Cappuccio writes that the "current evidence . . . [does] not support the conclusions of the FMCSA that a small increase in sleep duration of a few minutes following the HOS options proposed, particularly in the groups with baseline daily sleep of more than six hours per night, is likely to decrease the mortality risk of individuals or groups."

Further, Cappuccio states there is "no evidence to prove that, without additional measures, a simple reduction in work hours will result in increased sleep time."

Cappuccio cautioned that the sleep duration/mortality studies do "not demonstrate or even imply a cause-effect relationship" and warned it was "premature to address specific policy changes on the basis of the published relationships between sleep time and mortality risk."