Lawmakers were recently successful in blocking safety rules designed to keep tired truck drivers off the road. The rules, which were supported by the Obama Administration, concerned mandatory rest periods that require truckers to take two nights off after a work week up to 75 hours. Specifically, the rules mandated that the 35-hour rest period following a work week include two breaks from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
By including a provision in a recent spending bill, lawmakers were able to suspend these safety regulations. This is despite the fact that the regulations were based on scientific studies that sleep during early morning hours is critical to how refreshed and more aware a person feels, and despite mounting evidence that tired drivers are just as dangers as drunk drivers. In fact, a recent AAA report shows that driving with four or five hours of sleep is comparable to driving with a BAC at or above the legal limit.
Many experts believe the move may signal a trend in the easing of transportation safety regulations with a new congress and incoming President. For example, the trucking industry also supports the following changes:
- Expanding weight limits of certain commercial vehicles to 90,000+ lbs.
- Expanding the length of individual trailers in double-trailer vehicles to 33 ft.
- Rolling back federal regulations regarding automated cars and trucks.
The trucking industry is fraught with battles over safety regulations. In many cases, trucking companies and their supporters fight regulations that limit their ability to maximize profits – including rules the prevent drivers from working longer hours or regulations that limit a carrier’s cargo size.
Unfortunately, as we see all too often, these large companies place profits over people. Their efforts to change or rollback safety regulations may protect their bottom line, but they come at the expense of public safety. Tired drivers and larger trucks increase crash risks, and put the public is danger of suffering preventable harm.
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is an accomplished truck accident firm that represents trucking accident victims throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Our team supports safety regulations that protects the public, and continually monitors legislative changes to transportation safety rules.
If you or someone you love has been harmed in a wreck involving a tractor-trailer or commercial vehicle, our award-winning lawyers are available to help you better understand your rights and whether you may be able to pursue compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.