The federal government recently caused quite a stir when it passed new regulations for the trucking industry. The Tennessean has a good article outlining the different points of view in this controversy.
Basically, the rules require drivers to take more time off than they used to, leaving them with 70 hours/week to drive rather than the previous 82.
Some drivers don’t see what the big problem is with the new rules. They feel like the limits make the road safer and protect truckers from getting taken advantage of by their companies.
But many other drivers see the regulations as an unnecessary burden that might cost them time and money. They worry they’ll be threatened with high fines, just for doing their job. The companies above them generally agree.
Then you have the rule-makers themselves. The federal government argues the new regulations are crucial to maintaining road safety. Supporters also argue the changes will help fight health problems rampant in the trucking industry, like obesity and high blood pressure.
In my opinion, 70 hours a week is plenty. I don’t always encourage regulation–especially at the federal level–but I have to admit truck safety is a soft spot for me.
As a truck accident lawyer in Memphis, I’ve met personally with victims of truck crashes and seen the devastation these accidents can cause. I’ve also seen how often the problem could be avoided with more alert, cautious drivers.
At the same time, I don’t think it’s always the driver’s fault at all. This industry pushes its workers hard–sometimes harder than is safe. Any company that forces its drivers to work past a healthy amount puts innocent people’s lives at risk and should be punished for such careless behavior.
The new regulations fine companies more than individual drivers when there’s a violation. That seems appropriate to me. But I can certainly understand the controversy. After all, time is money–especially on the road.
The question is which matters more: our time, or our lives?
Darrell Castle is a truck accident lawyer with over 30 years experience in road accident cases. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, contact him today to discuss your case for free.