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Truckers Could See a Rollback on Drive-Time Restrictions

Home » Truckers Could See a Rollback on Drive-Time Restrictions
September 18, 2019
Edward Smith

Rollback on Truckers Drive-Time Restrictions

Trucking industry interest groups are just on the brink of getting their way. Bill Sullivan, an American Trucking Association lobbyist, has publicly stated that this group has a robust relationship with the Trump Administration, and is hopeful that this will facilitate a more relaxed set of rules moving forward. The longstanding fight between the trucking industry and the government has consisted of constant back-and-forth banter regarding the “hours of service” restrictions, which permits a 14-hour “driving window” limit to long-haul drivers. Additionally, long-haul drivers are currently constricted to 11-hour driving limits, 60-hour per 7 days and 70-hour per 8 days duty limitations.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has been considering a rollback on the current hours of service regulations, to allow truck drivers more freedom and flexibility in determining the hours they’d like to work. This rollback in federal regulations is thought to be beneficial for both motor carriers and drivers. However, this push has found its way at an interesting time, as the recent reports from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have revealed some information that makes a federal rollback sound counterintuitive. FMCSA reports state that there has been a 42 percent increase in large truck and bus accident fatalities since 2009, with human error as a leading cause of truck accidents.

Change for the Better… or the Worse?

Some are saying that the rollback is necessary for truck drivers, such as Norman Tello, an employed driver with Tate Transportation. Tello claimed that the current drive-time regulations make a driver’s destination feel like a race against the clock, with time always feeling like it’s close to running out. There are many others who share similar views as Tello, believing that the current driving time frame is not long enough. On the other hand, a large percentage of people are worried about the implications this rollback may have on the road.

Quantifying the Problem

Despite the reports of only 60 truck drivers being involved in fatal fatigue-related accidents in 2017, this number is suspected to be a lot higher. Safety advocacy groups such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have held their ground that drowsy driving is substantially underreported on police reports. The widespread issue of fatigue among commercial drivers is not new information, it takes just moments to find the concerning statistics that report truckers average fewer hours of sleep per night than the average adult, their higher rate of falling asleep behind the wheel, and so on.

In hopes of properly addressing the issue, the NTSB has listed reducing fatigue-related auto accidents in its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2019-2020. Among the abundant list of suggestions are fatigue risk-management programs, science-based regulations, and individual proactive behaviors.

Watch YouTube Video: Transportation Department to Relax Rules on Truckers. This video explains the Transportation Department’s decision to relax the federal rules on truck drivers hours behind the wheel.

Pittsburg Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Pittsburg personal injury lawyer. If you or a loved one has sustained severe injury or even death in a truck accident, I would be more than happy to help you through this stress-inducing process. Call me today at (925) 428-5220 or (800) 404-5400 for my free and friendly advice regarding your injury claim.

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