Truck drivers all over the United States are expressing their opinions about the new rules that the Department of Transportation will implement for commercial truck drivers. According to the government, truckers need more rest in order to eliminate the possibility of drowsy driving that leads to so many accidents every year. The new rules will force truck drivers to take longer breaks and will also motivate them to cut back on the amount of hours that they spend behind the wheel.
Most truckers are not paid by the hour, but by miles travelled. This means by taken less breaks and driving straight through the night, they can often reach their destination faster, getting the same paycheck but only working a fraction of the expected drive time. Some truck drivers say that demanding more breaks is unnecessary. One individual told CNBC News that if he keeps being told to take more breaks he fears he won’t be able to make a living.
The new truck rules demand that all drivers will need to stick to a schedule which requires them to take a 30 minute break within the first eight hours of driving. Their maximum work week can only by 70 hours from now on. Originally truckers were permitted to drive up to 82 hours per week. Also, all drivers are required to take a mandatory 34-hour break at least once a week. The rules are a part of a program that the Obama Administration has created to make U.S. highways safer and reduce the number of truck accidents.
The trucking industry argues that they are already doing a good job of reducing accidents and that the government’s own data can evidence this. The number of people killed per year in truck crashes has fallen by about 30% in recent years, and in 2011 the number was at 4,000, down from 5,282 in 2000. Still, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) analysis shows that the new laws may be able to prevent an additional 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries. As well, the FMCSA says that the new rules will save approximately 19 lives per year. Only time will tell if the new rules will do as they are expected to and will to reduce the amount of trucking accidents in America.
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