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ATA Wants Congress To Review Important Trucking Safety Rules

ATA Wants Congress To Review Important Trucking Safety Rules

On February 25, 2016, the American Trucking Association requested Congress to review the proposal by lobbying groups to set rules for truck drivers regarding rest breaks. An aviation bill introduced in January in the House proposes that all states will be prevented from allowing trucking companies generous and longer rest breaks than what had been standardized by the Federal government.

The provision was challenged in the courts but the trucking stakeholders lost. It was again taken to the court in December, but once again failed to impress. After being rejected before, the provision this time was presented as a bill by Rep. Bill Shuster R. Pa., in order to overhaul the Federal Aviation.

But the provision has been opposed by safety groups suggesting that it will pressure truck drivers to continue their journeys even when they are tired or fatigued, which may become a major cause of fatalities on the road. The ATA also supports the opinion. Bill Graves, the president and CEO of American Trucking Association said in a press release:
“A single set of consistent and fair regulations is essential to the trucking industry. Language currently being discussed by Congressional leaders would ensure that drivers operate under a consistent set of break rules, whether that driver is delivering a trailer full of water to Flint, Michigan, or picking up a load of avocados in Temecula, California. That’s what Congress sought to establish with a 1994 law, and recent interpretations of that law by the courts are threatening that consistency.”

Stressing the issues of a single uniform system for rest rules made clear in the Federal Aviation Administration Act of 1994, the press release included the following. “Language in the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 made it clear states are not permitted to institute rules governing the trucking industry because Congress wanted the industry to operate under a single, uniform system from coast-to-coast rather than a confusing and inefficient patchwork of state laws. However, some states — notably California — a handful of courts, and aggressive plaintiffs’ attorneys are refusing to faithfully uphold that goal of one country, one set of rules.”

Bill Graves, stressing on the importance of equality stated, “If lawmakers do not address this overreach by the states and the courts, they will destroy the unified national rules that Congress intended trucking to operate under.” He further included, “And moreover, if opponents of this provision succeed in blocking this common sense fix, it only will make an already difficult job unnecessarily complex.”

To sum up the press release, it included the following statement, “Since the 1930s, the federal government has maintained a uniform national set of work and rest rules for the trucking industry that has been imperiled by recent court actions. ATA calls upon Congress to safeguard these important regulations.”

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