As a Missouri tractor-trailer accident lawyer, I’ve written here many times about the proposed new federal rules limiting how long truck drivers can work in any given day and any work week. So I was interested, but not that surprised, to see that the trucking industry has testified against those rules in a recent Congressional hearing. According to a June 14 article from The Trucker, a representative from the American Trucking Associations spoke to a House subcommittee about the cost of implementing the proposed new rules, currently slated for October. James Burg, owner of a trucking company in Michigan, told the subcommittee that the new rules would drive up his costs by requiring more workers to do the same work.
The new HOS rules would cut the total allowable driving time per day from 11 hours to 10 and total work shifts (which include time for things like paperwork) to 13 hours from 14. They also create a mandatory 30-minute break after seven hours of driving. It also limits the number of hours any trucker can drive in one work week. Burg owns James Burg Trucking Co., which employs 85 drivers, and also sits on the ATA Board of Directors. He told Congress that the cost of hiring new drivers would likely require him to increase revenues by 20 to 25 percent, which he said would eventually get passed on to consumers. This is in line with ATA’s position on the proposed HOS rules — it argues that current rules are working fine.
I do not doubt that ATA opposes the new HOS rules because those rules could cost trucking companies money. But as a St. Louis semi truck accident attorney, I think it’s important to ask whether profit for private trucking companies is our top priority as a society. Fatigued driving is a serious problem for drivers of cars as well as trucks, but it’s somewhat institutionalized in trucking companies, for exactly the financial reasons Burg discussed. Longer shifts on the road save money and prevent fines for missing delivery deadlines. They also increase the risk that a trucker on the road for hours will be too tired to react or pay close attention, which can lead to deadly accidents. Thus, arguably, consumers pay the price whether or not HOS rules are implemented — either by paying extra for groceries or losing loved ones and abilities. I know which choice my clients would prefer.
If you or someone you love was seriously hurt in a semi truck crash, you should call Carey, Danis & Lowe right away. Our firm has a special focus on big rig crashes because those crashes can be far more destructive than crashes between two cars. The greater size and weight of a large commercial truck can literally crush a smaller car, exposing the people inside to death or catastrophic injuries like brain damage or paralysis. Our southern Illinois 18-wheeler accident lawyers represent families that have suffered this kind of serious accident through the fault of the truck driver, trucking company or both. We help our clients win the money they need to deal with the personal and financial aftereffects of a life-changing accident, including medical costs, lost income, adapting to a disability and more.
Carey, Danis & Lowe offers free, confidential case evaluations, so you can speak to us at no risk or obligation. To set up a meeting, call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or send us an email today.
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