NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Truckers Say Proposed Driving Rules Are Self Defeating

August 2, 2000

It's not just that long-distance truckers rebel at the federal government determining their sleep cycles, they also say that proposed federal rules governing how long they must rest will mean more trucks on the road -- driven by less experienced drivers.

  • The Department of Transportation has proposed new work limits forbidding long-distance drivers to drive more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period -- superseding current rules which prevent them driving more than 10 consecutive hours, followed by at least eight hours off.
  • The current rules permit up to 16 hours of driving in a day and don't include required break times, as the new rules would.
  • The proposal would also require drivers to take two consecutive days off after driving a 60-hour week.
  • The government claims the new rules would prevent 115 deaths and almost 3,000 serious injuries annually.

But the truckers argue that the rules would require more truckers and trucks on the highways -- thereby increasing traffic and the risk of accidents. They estimate that the industry is already about 80,000 drivers short and the rule change would mean another 100,000 truckers would be needed. The jobs, they say, would have to be performed by inexperienced drivers -- further exacerbating the safety risk.

And they don't like the two-days-off rule -- fearing they would be stranded far from their families.

Source: Blake Morrison, "Rules Could Force Truckers to Take a Load Off," USA Today, August 2, 2000.


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