New proposal to relax drive time for truckers
The Transportation Department is proposing a plan to change the hours of service for truck drivers.
The goal is to make the driving rules more flexible while truckers are on the road.
Let's say a truck driver runs out of driving time 5 minutes away from home. Their concern is, they have to park their truck so close to home until they can drive 10 hours later.
If they run out of time in the middle of traffic or on a busy bridge, their only option is pulling off to a rest area and resting for those 10 hours.
Local truck driver Jay Brockway said an extra 30 minutes could change that problem.
It's a 12- to 14-hour shift every day for Brockway, loading up his truck and making stops to Chicago and back from Green Bay.
"Even though I’m home every night, I still do get delayed at some shippers,” Brockway said. “Not every day goes perfect."
Many truckers deal with this problem all the time. That's why the Transportation Department is working to make drive time hours for truck drivers flexible.
"It's definitely needed, because we don't have a whole lot of flexibility now,” said Brockway.
Brockway said the rules on driving time are just not enough when traffic and weather are a part of the equation.
But highway safety advocates are not happy about the proposal, saying fatal crashes involving large trucks have increased by 10%.
“So we have this known problem of truck driver fatigue that is killing people on our road, and then there’s now the consideration of making the service regulation even weaker,” Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety president Cathy Chase said.
The organization believes the proposal will only cause more problems.
“There was a truck driver survey that found that 65 percent of drivers reported that they had often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving, and almost half of the drivers said they actually fell asleep while driving in the previous year,” Chase said.
No specific rule changes have been made public.
The White House's Office of Management and Budget is reviewing the proposal.