For the most part, though they are still being challenged by several trucking companies, the new hours of service safety regulations seem like a big nothing for the majority of truckers. What is most surprising is that the FMCSA actually thinks it has addressed a real problem with a "fair and balanced approach" or that they believe these new rules will result in less fatalities and hundreds of millions of dollars in savings from fewer crashes and improved driver health.
Let's face it, the vast majority of truckers would prefer not to work over 70 hours a week and have no problem or are already taking at least a 30 minute break every 8 hours. I also do not know a single truck driver that would have a problem with a 70 hour on, 34 hour off schedule. So, like I said, for the most part a big "DUH" here for most drivers. While they certainly can't reconcile the FMCSA's numbers (who can), even DOT's own analysis shows that "more than 85% of drivers will see little to no change in their schedules as a result of the rule."
However, in the case of time-sensitive or refrigerated shipments, the new rules could actually cause more accidents and driver issues. Think about it. These types of shipments are often not your average over the highway "long-haul" that the government is so concerned about and are often delivered in already congested areas. So to avoid delays, what are the trucking companies supposed to do, have drivers ready to trade off like the old pony express so that deliveries can be made on time? And what about your standard delivery type routes? Where are the drivers supposed to park and wait out the 30 minute breaks? Could you imagine this issue in and around New York City?
As usual, the government it trying to do something "good" without thinking it through. For one, the industry is already doing a great job addressing driver and motorist safety. For another, the vast majority of these rules amount to very little for most drivers. Finally, with the driver shortage and overall economy already in such dire straights, can't we come up with a plan that does not go after the working drivers pay?
What are your thoughts on the new safety regulations?