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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Truck Drivers Not Revved Up About New Safety Rules

Today's post was shared by NIOSH Transportation and comes from

The federal government thinks long-haul truckers like Bryan Spoon need more rest.

But with the Department of Transportation's new rules forcing drivers to take longer breaks and cut back on hours behind the wheel, Spoon thinks the government has created a solution looking for a problem.

"I wish the government would just quit trying to fix something that's not broken," he said on a recent rest stop in Columbia, Mo., after hauling a load of construction materials on the 48-foot Great Dane flatbed behind his 2009 Volvo 780.

"If I get any more breaks out here I won't be able to make a living," he said.

Starting Monday, drivers like Spooner will have to stick to a schedule that requires taking a 30-minute break in the first eight hours of driving, cut the maximum workweek to 70 hours from 82, and "restart" those 70 hours with a 34-hour break once a week.

The rules are part of a program by the Obama administration to make U.S. highways safer by reducing the number of truck accidents and fatalities. The program also includes a safety rating system that shippers can review when they chose a new carrier, with the goal of prodding the trucking industry to further improve the safety of its drivers and equipment.

"The updated hours of service rule makes three common sense, data-driven changes to increase safety on our roadways and reduce driver fatigue, a leading factor in large truck crashes," said Anne Ferro administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,...

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