Are Trucking Companies Really Worried About “True Safety”?
While most Atlanta residents were making last minute preparations for the holidays, lawmakers were busy making their own set of hurried changes to a Senate bill that, if passed, would allow truck drivers to bypass the most recent hours-of-service rule that placed strict limitations on “34-hour restarts.”
Named the TRUE Safety Act, this bill is an extension of a House bill introduced in late October, which would require the Government Accountability Office to investigate and assess the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) process in creating the rule enacted on July 1, 2013. In particular, proponents of the TRUE Safety Act are questioning the research that supports the enforcement of the “34-hour restart” provisions.
U.S. Representative Richard Hanna claims that small businesses are suffering from the most recent hours-of-service rule, and that it will cost the trucking industry a grand total of $376 million each year.
“It is wrongheaded for the federal government to impose an arbitrary and capricious regulation that impacts…the American economy without finishing a study on its effectiveness,” said Representative Hanna. “Federal agencies should…prove that new rules and regulations do not cause more harm than good—in terms of both safety and costs.”
As Atlanta trial attorneys who handle trucking accidents, both Geoff Pope and Marc Howard are inclined to disagree.
“In 2011 alone, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that there were 329,000 accidents involving large trucks and buses, 73,000 of which left occupants injured, and 3,568 of which were fatal,” said attorney Geoff Pope. “What proponents of the TRUE Safety Act don’t understand is that the “34-hour restart” rule is meant to save lives, not money.”
According to the FMCSA, the “34-hour restart” rule was designed to limit truckers’ work to no more than 70 hours a week on average. Why? Because a truck driver who suffers from sleep deprivation can experience the same side effects as one who is driving drunk. In the United States alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fatigue is a factor in 100,000 accidents and 1,550 crash-related fatalities each year.
“We understand that these hours-of-service rules may seem like an inconvenience to tractor trailer drivers,” said attorney Marc Howard. “But, the fact remains that driving fatigued is tantamount to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and no one disputes that regulations against drinking and driving are crucial to highway safety.”
About Pope & Howard, P.C.
The attorneys of Pope & Howard, P.C., an Atlanta-based trial law firm, are dedicated to fairly representing clients for just compensation. The firm specializes in tractor trailer accidents, construction site injuries, and other cases that involve personal, catastrophic injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor trailer accident, please contact the trial lawyers of Pope & Howard, P.C. at (866) 910-0642 for an initial consultation.