Congress moves to weaken truck fatigue law
Tue, 10 Jun 2014 21:55:25 GMT —
The crash involving actor Tracy Morgan is putting the spotlight on some trucker legislation in Congress.
Drivers at the Midway Truck Stop said a federal law is not the answer to keeping sleepy truckers off the road.
Vestell â??VCRâ?? Royal, 62, of Hope, Arkansas has been a truck driver for nearly 30 years. He wasnâ??t surprised when Congress passed their â??Restartâ?? law last summer to help reduce driver fatigue. The law changed the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours from the previous maximum of 82 hours a week. The â??Restartâ?? law proposed changes would bring back the 82 hour limit. The changes are attached to a larger transportation funding bill that needs approval from both the U.S. House and Senate. Royal said federal laws put pressure on truck drivers when they try to get their deliveries on time.
Royal said, â??I get tired. Iâ??m not saying that Iâ??m perfect. Iâ??m not saying that I always do what I am supposed to do. If I get sleepy, Iâ??m going to pull over.â??
Royal admitted some drivers break the rules to meet their deadlines and drive drowsy, but said the majority of them put safety first.
Several truckers who did not want to be identified said Members of Congress do not have the right to tell them when they can and cannot drive. They said common sense lets them know when theyâ??re too tired to get behind the wheel.
Royal said, â??We work hard and we love being truck drivers. Now, we are probably the most hated group there is. Thatâ??s not fair to us.â??
Federal law requires drivers to work no more than 14 hours for any shift with a maximum of 11 hours of driving. It also requires drivers to take a 30 minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatigue is one of the top reasons for crashes involving truck drivers.