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Relaxing trucker drive-time rules a threat to public safety

Long-haul trucker drive-time rules and regulations exist to help prevent commercial truck drivers from driving while drowsy or fatigued, which can present a serious and substantial threat to everyone else traveling the nation’s roadways. For some time now, though, truckers, trucking company owners and others with interests in the trucking industry have argued that the rules governing trucker drive times are too strict. Now, the current presidential administration is considering loosening current regulations across the trucking industry, even though fatal wrecks involving semi-trucks are already on the rise across the nation.

According to the L.A. Times, there were 4,657 commercial trucks involved in fatal wrecks in 2017, which is a 10% increase over the number of fatal truck crashes seen in 2016. Exactly how many of those fatal crashes involved drowsy and fatigued truck drivers in unclear, but safety advocates fear that deregulating the rest and drive-time rules currently in place for all truckers would undoubtedly lead to more crashes.

Why truckers want to see changes

Many of those in favor of loosening up the regulations in place as far as trucker drive-times argue that doing so would make it easier for semi-truck drivers to avoid unfavorable driving situations, such as inclement weather or heavy traffic. Truckers and others in favor of deregulating the industry also argue that doing so would allow them to spend less time on the road and more time at home with their families.

How safety can suffer

Those opposed to loosening current trucker drive-time rules argue that doing so would undoubtedly lead to more fatigued truck drivers on the nation’s roads and that driving while drowsy or fatigued can have a dramatic effect on trucker performance. Additionally, one recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicated that truck drivers driving under the proposed short-haul exemption are 383% more likely to crash than truckers operating under current regulations.

Driving while fatigued can impact reaction time, alertness and more. Thus, loosening the rules pertaining to trucker drive-times could lead to more truck-involved crashes and more associated road deaths.

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