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Truckers Say New Hours of Service Regulations Make It Even Harder to Stay Safe on Roadways

Image via Flickr by Leader Nancy Pelosi

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration recently pushed through changes to truckers’ hours of service regulations, and, at the time, many truckers and the American Trucking Association said that the FMCSA did not use sound research or good judgment when drawing out the rules. Now that the plan is in place, and truckers are losing 2-10 percent of their productivity due to the regulations, truckers are speaking out about how these regulations are actually making it harder for them to stay safe on the road. Speaking to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, small trucking company owner Tilden Curl told members how the new rules make it impossible for truckers to respond to common over the road schedule changes due to the weather, the time it takes to load or unload the trailer, and other factors that truckers must deal with, yet have no control over.

Curl was speaking on behalf of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, an advocacy group which tries to protect the rights and interests of small owner operator trucking companies. While the larger trucking companies can largely offset losses of driver productivity due to the new hours of service regulations by spreading the workloads among a number of drivers, small owner operator companies do not have the same options.

Curl and the OOIDA would like for U.S. legislators to take a look at a set of truck driving regulations used in Australia, which sets up a chain of responsibility in which the drivers, trucking companies, shippers, receivers, and others within the supply chain share responsibility for safety on the roadways.

The new hours of service regulations have been under fire since passed, and several court cases have attempted to overthrow the new regulations. So far, the FMCSA stands behind their regulations, though no confirmable research supports the soundness of those particular regulations.

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