Truck Driver Rule May Endanger U.S. Motorists

Truck Driver Rule May Endanger U.S. Motorists

The administration of outgoing President George W. Bush is rushing to put several laws into place before Jan. 20 (when the president's term ends). One of these 11th-hour legislative changes threatens the safety of motorists across the U.S., as it may increase the risk of trucking accidents on our highways.

Unsafe Guidelines May Put Drivers at Risk
In a last-minute industry-favoring move by the Bush administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a "rule" that may increase the risk of trucking accidents. The new rule allows truck drivers to:

  • Work 11 consecutive hours a day
  • Work up to 14 hours per shift
  • Be behind the wheel of 80,000-pound trucks for as much as 77 hours per week

This rule had already been in place, temporarily, and has been challenged numerous times based on extensive research that shows how unsafe these standards are.

Fatigued Drivers May Cause Trucking Accidents
The fatigue experienced by long-haul truck drivers and shorter-haul truck drivers puts everyone on the roads at risk of collision and serious injuries. The dangers of truck drivers who are either falling asleep at the wheel or using drugs to stay awake have been well documented, but the Bush administration has a history of siding with corporate interests and industries at the expense of consumer safety.

After the deregulation of the trucking industry in the 1980s, the pressure grew for trucking companies and individual truck drivers to put in as many miles, making as many deliveries as possible. Accidents involving trucks of all kinds increased sharply in number and severity.

The cementing of these standards is set for Jan. 19 — the day before President Bush’s term ends.

(Source: OMB Watch)

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