Will a Reduction of Long-Haul Trucker's Hours Reduce Eighteen-Wheeler Crashes?
Historically, commercial truck drivers were allowed to drive for up to 10 consecutive hours before resting. The trucking industry chafed under these restrictions and found a willing partner in changing the law with the Bush administration.
The changes expanded the consecutive hours rule to 11 hours and reduced the amount of required end of workweek down time from 50 hours to 34.
The new rules came into effect in the last-days of the Bush presidency and the thought is that longer hours and less down-time means more tractor-trailer crashes in Maryland and nationwide.
Interestingly, the expanded hours rules have been struck down by Federal courts on two occasions only to see the Bush administration reinstate them. The commercial trucking industry points to the ever decreasing number of injuries and fatalities emanating from eighteen wheeler and commercial trucking crashes as evidence that the new rules have no detrimental effect on public safety.
A flock of roadway safety organizations have joined the Teamsters Union in opposing the expanded hours and are enthusiastically embracing the F.M.C.S.A.'s efforts to sculpt new sensible safety regulations for long-haul truck drivers.