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Lawmakers block safety regulations for trucking industry

Truck drivers in New York may cause serious accidents if they drive while they are fatigued by lack of sleep. To ensure that truckers are well rested, the federal government has sleep and rest break laws for commercial truck drivers. A couple of those safety rules were effectively blocked in December, and there could be more regulations blocked soon.

The truck driving safety regulations were blocked by a government spending bill that is likely to be approved by Republican lawmakers. The spending bill includes a provision to suspend a rule that requires truckers to rest for two nights after working for 75 hours in one week. The American Trucking Association said that it would also like to block state rest break laws that have stricter requirements than federal rest break laws.

Because Republican lawmakers tend to favor industry in their decisions, some safety advocates fear that more trucking regulations will be on the chopping block once Trump takes office. In addition to eliminating rest and sleep break requirements, the trucking industry may advocate for increases to weight and length limits on commercial trucks. One truck driver who was interviewed about the law changes said that he did not believe the government should tell truckers when to sleep. He said that truckers know when they are fatigued and need to pull over.

Some truck drivers continue to drive even though they are fatigued because they are under pressure to meet time deadlines. If a fatigued truck driver causes an accident, both the truck driver and the truck driver's employer may be held legally responsible. People who have been injured in truck accidents can pursue monetary compensation from all of the liable parties by filing a personal injury claim.

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