Groups Protest Amendment to Trucking Hours of Service Bill
Much has been said about the recent legislation designed to change hours of service for truck drivers. With everyone from labor boards to health organizations concerned about truckers working long hours and becoming a threat to the motoring public due to being fatigued behind the wheel, regulations focused on handling this issue were welcomed by many. Not surprisingly, many in the trucking industry voiced their opposition to this, citing the mandate to be arbitrary and claiming that it would hamper business while failing to adequately prevent accidents.
The fallout from this decision has resulted in a study being mandated to determine whether or not the current language in the bill is suitable. While those in the trucking industry are happy that their objections to the somewhat capricious bill will be heard, many people fear that this change will lead to longer work weeks being made legal, and that such a change could increase the possibility of accidents.
A spokeswoman for Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development said: “The Senate Transportation funding bill is being considered in a fair, bipartisan and open process. It is unfortunate that there has been so much misinformation regarding the important safety provisions in this bill that would strengthen the safety of our roads.”
Current law allows drivers to work up to 82 hours per week. The new bill would impose a 73-hour cap which many believe will eliminate the possibility for fatigue-related accidents. Additional requirements also affect the amount of daily hours that may be worked as well as how long rest breaks must be. Ever since the 34-hour restart rule was enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2013, there has been much talk concerning whether or not these rules will actually improve safety or whether they will simply make it more difficult for truckers to complete routes as normal.
Many truckers believe that the required rest periods and mandatory restart laws can actually increase the possibility for accidents as it pushes drivers into early-morning rush traffic. Time will tell whether or not the new policies will be changed, as the data can hopefully provide accurate results as to how effective or ineffective additional HOS requirements will be at protecting truckers and the drivers they share the roads with.