GOP lawmakers in Washington recently blocked some truck driver fatigue rules, and safety advocates feel that bold move may be just the beginning.
Previously, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued rules that require truckers to take at least two consecutive nights off if they work more than 75 hours in any one week, and also requiring that at least part of that rest period be between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. But Congressional Republicans added a provision to a must-pass spending bill that prevents these rules from going into effect. Furthermore, with the GOP in control of the presidency and both houses of Congress beginning in January, shipping industry lobbyists plan to push legislation allowing large trucks to be longer and heavier than ever before. While some advocates, like Joan Claybrook, feel that shipping companies “don’t care about safety no matter what they say,” both truckers and owners have consistently fought such regulations, saying they are intrusive and may stifle innovation in the area of driverless trucks. [Read more…]