Regulators Seek Federal Control Over Driver Wages and Hours
A truck driver’s pay and the hours they work are both very important figures. Adjustments to either of these data points can have big ramifications on a driver’s experience and whether they remain in their current job or seek work elsewhere.
Driving across multiple states can make things tricky. Each state may seek to make changes to truck drivers’ pay, as well as to the amount of hours a driver can stay on the road before they’re required to take a rest break.
Things can become complex, as multi-state trips may result in drivers being on the road while violating the hours-of-service rules of a given state. This poses the same types of dangers as a driver from that state having the same violation.
Because of this, it is no surprise that US officials are considering legislation that would prevent states from dictating pay reforms and hours-of-service changes for commercial drivers. The Denham Amendment was originally brought up by California representative Jeff Denham two years ago.
The bill isn’t seeking to institute anything new necessarily, but rather to return the power to the federal level as it has been in the past. Both the American Trucking Associations and the Western States Trucking Association have expressed their support of the amendment.
The first attempt to get this legislation passed came when language was attached to the FAST Act highway bill in 2015. Last year, the amendment was considered again – this time as a part of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization package.
The provisions intend to stop states from impeding federal regulations on HOS regulations and to stop states from requiring their carriers to give drivers additional compensation outside of that dictated by federal law.
The question about state vs. federal authority in the freight industry has spilled over into other conversations beyond pay and HOS. Trucker Lives Matter recently proposed legislation to allow drivers to carry firearms across state borders in an effort to protect themselves from attackers.
There are many factors which influence the regulatory landscape of the truck driving industry. Returning power to the federal level is a move many people think will benefit the industry in the long-term.