Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 13, 2014 – The Senate Appropriations Committee has temporarily suspended a new truck safety regulation, fearing it will actually cause more accidents than it would prevent.
“The suspended rule limited how often truckers may drive between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Its intention was to reduce fatigue, and thus reduce accidents. However, the trucking industry responded, pointing out that it would place even more big rigs on the road during daytime hours and, therefore, actually increase the likelihood of accidents,” explained trucking accident attorney Brooks Schuelke of Perlmutter & Schuelke LLP in Austin, Texas.
To prioritize safety for all drivers, the Senate Appropriations Committee suspended the regulation and sent it for further study, agreeing that highways and interstates would be more congested during peak daylight commuter hours. The trucking industry was heartened by the move to suspend the regulation and expressed hope that they would be more involved with any changes to current rules.
The current regulations are a source of great frustration for trucking firms and drivers. “Regulations can lower wages and reduce productivity, leading to poor customer service and dissatisfied drivers,” Schuelke added, “and both these factors can raise the likelihood of a collision.”
In committee meetings, senators debated the value and meaning of proper rest for safe driving. Opponents of the regulation pointed out that 4,000 people were killed and more than 73,000 injured in trucking collisions in 2012. The regulation was suspended in response, allowing the committee to focus on the safety aspects of large trucks on the road during the night.
But the problem may not even depend on this particular regulation. “Highways are busier now than they ever have been at every hour of day or night, especially here in Texas," Schuelke pointed out. "You cannot legislate people’s actions. There are always going to be people who drive in violation of the law, and accidents are still going to happen.”
A second regulation, dubbed the “restart rule,” has also been suspended. Under it, truckers could drive a maximum of 70 hours a week before halting and resting for 34 consecutive hours. The rest time was required to include at least two time slots between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
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