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Car Hauling Hours Determined By Congress
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Last May, Congress passed a trucking industry bill which continued the tradition of long hours for truckers and car hauling drivers. The bill allows 73 hours of drive time per week, and an additional 8.5 hours of non-driving work weekly. Funding to fight the Zika virus was attached to the bill, making it difficult to block.
Car moving driver advocates argue that those long hours on the road and a lack of sleep (currently at one required night weekly) contribute to unsafe working conditions for drivers and an increased likelihood of accidents. In 2013 the Obama administration listened, passing a regulation that capped driver hours at 70 per week and increased the required nights of sleep on the road to two. But a rider attached to a government spending bill, and May’s Zika bill, have prevented the enforcement of those lower drive hours. The current regulations of higher drivetime reflect those passed under the Bush administration, which was opposed by several lawsuits.
Nearly everyone can relate to driving on too little rest. Driving a small sedan while tired feels unsafe, let alone driving a large car hauling rig with only one full night of sleep a week. And many driver advocates have share cautionary tales about truckers who were involved in tragic accidents linked directly to a lack of sleep.
Police officers and medical first responders, too, have sad stories to share about incidents which began with exhausted drivers. But those advocates are too infrequently given a platform from which to share their experiences, and the driving regulations for the trucking and car hauling industry remain at a level which many argue to be dangerous.
Car moving driver advocates maintain that trucking industry lobbyists know the horror stories which would come to light from truck drivers, car haulers, and victims during congressional hearings about driving hours, and that’s why the regulations are usually slipped on as riders to other bills rather than being subject to a congressional hearing.
Representatives of trucking associations counter those claims with the narrative that arguing for shorter driving hours is illogical. They say that a trucker linking their hours together in a way that hit the 80-hour cap is difficult do to, and regulating shorter hours isn’t necessary.
Whether intentionally or not, Congress has frequently sided with the interests of trucking associations rather than claims by individual drivers. As the drama of industry regulation plays out on a grand government scale, car hauling drivers continue to plug on with the hours they can manage and another strong cup of coffee.
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