The Fear of Over Regulation in Trucking
There was a time when the term freedom was synonymous with truck driving. Compared to frontiersmen and adventures from centuries ago, truckers were long considered to be escaping from the traditional work grind.
It doesn’t mean trucking is easy, it just means it provides opportunities that other lines of work don’t. For those who are willing to put up with the tough aspects, driving can be a rewarding career. But while a lot of things in the field have changed, one of the biggest changes deals with the liberating feeling the job once offered.
Hauling freight can present dangers, especially on America’s roadways. The motoring public and safety groups alike have a history of petitioning for regulations to control the trucking industry, with the purported purpose being fewer accidents.
While having the right policies in place can drastically reduce the chance of a crash involving commercial vehicles, there is a point where things can go overboard. Too many laws controlling trucking can figuratively tie the hands of workers, and completely destroy the feeling of freedom trucking once offered.
Even those regulations which are designed with a logical endpoint in mind can create a scenario that resembles complete control over trucking by government.
For example, laws regarding hours-of-service and rest breaks are put in place to reduce fatigue-related accidents. But at a point, truckers can find themselves tasked with making a delivery while having someone else tell them when they can leave, when they must stop, and when they must rest.
The situation leaves many truck drives feeling stifled, with everything from their location to their time on the road being tracked meticulously. Even if the data isn’t collected by all carriers in the present, upcoming regulations will change this for good.
When regulations are a hindrance, they’ll drive truckers right out of the industry. The growing pool of regulations could be related to the continual trucker shortage, and may even play a role in carriers turning to machines to feel the role once held by humans.
If trucking loses the free feeling it once had, there may not be enough pay and benefit packages out there to incentivize drivers to stick around.