Congress May Suspend Trucking Regulations Even Though Danger Hasn’t Disappeared

tractor trailor tipA report out of Washington state names truck driving as an occupation with some of the highest injury rates in the state, which comes on the heels of another report that Congress might loosen up rules that are intended to prevent injuries to truck drivers, meaning there would be more tired drivers on the road which could lead to even more injuries in an occupation that already has a high rate of incidents.

The state reported that each year, one in every 13 drivers (7.7 percent) had an injury that was serious enough for them to miss time. Between 2006-2012, one out of ever y 19 drivers had some sort of compensable injury- more than two times the rate of other industries. Most of them were related to sprains, strains or overexertion.

The provision that Congress is taking a look at tried to limit the amount of hours truckers were on the road without a substantial rest period. It only took effect last year, and said that truckers could drive 11 hours a day but work 14 hours. If they worked 70 hours a week they had to rest 34 hours. The main part of the rule was that it would no longer allow drivers to log the 82 hour work weeks they were before.

Now Congress might rescind that and let drivers work 82 hours a week again. There had been a push for Congress to do this earlier this year but it failed since it was around the time that Tracy Morgan was injured and his friend killed when a tractor-trailer hit their van. The driver had been close to the end of his 14 hour shift.

The report out of Washington said they had 52 fatalities between 2006-2012. The trucking industry alone makes up a tenth of work-related fatalities in the state. The report included preventive tips for drivers to try and stay safe on the job, so hopefully drivers or their employers can read it and take some tips to hear next time they are on the road.

The Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx and various other advocacy groups are pushing hard to get Congress to keep the rule in place. They say that in 2012 there were 3,912 truck related deaths and that this sleep rule might go a long way in preventing some of these accidents.

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