Residents in Georgia know that truckers spend a lot of long and lonely hours behind the wheel. This can naturally contribute to fatigue and is something that requires careful monitoring in order to keep truckers and other motorists safe. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has rules in place capping the number of hours a trucker can drive in a single work day or work week. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the presidential administration are now trying to amend those, easing the limits on truckers.
As reported by the PBS News Hour, current rules allow a trucker to work 14 hours in one day but only 11 of those hours can be spent driving. That time must include a 30-minute rest period after the first eight hours. Once the day’s work shift is concluded, the trucker must have at least 10 hours of off-duty time before driving again. The purpose of these rules is to reduce trucker fatigue and, thereby reduce accidents.
In 2017, 60 truckers were identified as fatigued or completely asleep at the time of a fatal accident. The National Transportation Safety Board believes the real number is much higher than that. Yet, the DOT is wanting the FMCSA to allow more flexibility with the driving hours rule. The DOT asserts that the current rules force truckers to stop at locations that may not be safe or at times that are simply not practical.
A group called Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety indicates that it fears the push for flexibility is really a push for eliminating rules in disguise.