It’s two in the morning, and although it is 20 degrees out, you have the car windows rolled down and your radio blaring. You could just have bizarre driving habits, but the more likely scenario is one drivers of all types can relate to: you’re trying to stay awake at the wheel.
Recent proposals in the United States Congress aim to change safety regulations surrounding how many hours truckers can log each week. As it stands, most states place a limit of 60 to 70 hours per week, but the proposed changes would allow truckers to drive up to 82 hours. Because miles equal money in the trucking industry, advocates say this change would allow for greater financial opportunity for both companies and drivers. They argue that drivers and trucking companies themselves, not the government, are the best ones to determine how many hours should be driven per week, and one-size-fits-all weekly limits would not greatly impact safety but may greatly decrease productivity.
Those opposed to the changes argue that the increase in hours would equal an increase in tired truckers, a factor that contributed heavily to the 4,000 deaths related to large trucks last year. It is a widely-known fact that sleep deprivation has similar effects to alcohol in terms of slowed reflexes and poor judgement calls, and the recent crash involving a sleep-deprived truck driver and comedian Tracy Morgan further highlight the argument that hours should stay where they are.
As a trucker or future trucker, what are your thoughts on the subject? Do you feel you or your company can safely determine the amount of hours you should be driving, or do you think the proposed weekly limits are a protection for you and others on the road?