The Future of Trucking Safety

 

 

With Trump getting to work on his first 100 days, the American Trucking Association is ready to start a campaign of their own in the hopes of getting some of the safety regulations set in place by the Obama administration, pulled back. While the ATA did secure a win last month in blocking a ruling to keep tired truckers off the road, they aren’t planning to stop there.

Arguably, these safety regulations are in place for a very good reason

Arguably, these safety regulations are in place for a very good reason, to keep both truckers and other drivers who share the road safe. But at what point do these safety regulations begin to impede on doing business? There is a lot of criticism on both sides of the issue, and so the battle rages on.

Resting Ruling

One of the biggest issues that the ATA is rallying against, is the Obama administration’s ruling on the resting period for truckers. The rule was proposed to keep fatigued and overtired drivers off the roads by instituting a mandatory resting period of 34 hours after completing a work week. A large point of contention to this ruling is that part of this ruling is that part of this break must consist of two periods from 1 am to 5 am.

The rule was proposed to keep fatigued and overtired drivers off the roads

“Sleep scientists say rest during the early morning hours is critical for people to feel refreshed. The suspension means truckers can head out on the road again during those hours if the 34-hour break has elapsed,” according to an article from The Associated Press.

While the rest might be important for the driver, that period of time in particular is crucial for delivery schedules as it has one of the lowest volumes of traffic for the entire day. Forcing driver’s to wait until after 5 am could cause a serious hit to productivity and timeliness as driver’s will be forced to contend with higher traffic volumes and rush hour commuters.

Providing a Helping Hand in Rule Making

At what point are federal regulations overstepping their boundaries when it comes to making regulations for the trucking industry? This question is being asked with an increasing regularity. While many on the safety side of things think there isn’t enough safety regulations, those on the business side of things are saying “enough is enough.” While size, weight, and resting period regulations do have a purpose, many in the trucking industry think that the industry itself should be included in the rulemaking process.

While many on the safety side of things think there isn’t enough safety regulations, those on the business side of things are saying “enough is enough.”

“We want to see the industry included in developing regulations,” Chris Spear, chief executive of the ATA, said in an interview. “We’d hope to see a lot more collaboration than we’ve seen in the past few years.”

There is a concern that the Obama administration in their push for new safety regulations, have essentially sidestepped the industry itself by imposing executive orders for new safety regulations. Not only did these rules impose a high cost to implement on the industry, but there came at a time when the industry was dealing with failing freight rates and weak demand.

These rules impose a high cost to implement on the industry

“Transportation companies want the Transportation Department to rethink rules that include work limits for truck drivers, safety-equipment requirements for trains and other regulations. And the rail and truck groups want to go farther by setting particular steps transportation agencies must go through as they write rules and operating guidelines,” according to an article from the Wall Street Journal.  “Industry needs to be involved in developing the process that makes the rules,” said Mr. Spear. “There should be a clear return in exchange for compliance.”

How successful will the ATA and the rest of the industry be in getting these limitations and regulations adjusted to something more favorable?

Only time will tell.

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