Truckers Gain Temporary Victory on New Regulations
Many in the trucking industry celebrated this week as lawmakers blocked a new proposal by the Obama Administration to keep tired drivers off the highway. Given that Republican lawmakers have a tendency to side with the trucking industry over safety advocates more so than Democrats, many are hopeful that the right-wing shift in government will bode well for truckers.
The American Trucking Associations is planning to return next month when Republicans control Congress. Their aim is to rally against additional state rules for rest breaks beyond those which are required by federal law.
Other goals that trucking groups may pursue include increasing the maximum weight allowed on trucks and increasing the allowable length for single and double trailers.
Current regulations require truckers to take a 35-hour rest after their work week. Many in the industry objected to a provision which require two periods of 1AM to 5AM to be included in this rest break. The purported reason for this is that scientific research has concluded sleep in this time frame is vital for helping people feel refreshed and alert upon waking up.
The mandate’s blocked status means that drivers can head out during this time frame so long as the 35 hours have passed. Many believe that this time frame is better for driving in some cases, as roads are clearer and truckers can approach their destination without worrying about heavy traffic.
The rule chance also means that drivers can drive more than 75 hours per week provided they’ve had a 35 hour rest period.