Trucking regulations are designed to protect motorists and pedestrians from harm, but there are motions underway that may remove many of these protective measures and thousands of innocent people may soon pay the price. When a regulation is introduced, it is often because there is a problem that needs to be governed. Required inspections, hours of service regulations, and at least a dozen other safety rules that were adopted or pending are now becoming sidelined, placing truckers, other motorists, and pedestrians in harm’s way.
Under the present administration, the Department of Transportation has withdrawn, repealed, or put off many trucking regulations that impact safety. Moreover, the agency has not passed any significant rules that would protect drivers and pedestrians.
Hours of service regulations are now under scrutiny and electronic speed limiter laws have been pushed to the sidelines at a time when truck crashes that cause severe injuries and deaths continue to rise. Since drowsy driving and excessive speeds are some of the main causes of truck accidents, deregulation is expected to only make matters worse.
Arguing Against Regulation
Many of these regulations have been opposed by lobbyists hired by the railroad and trucking industries. They have argued that the regulations would not significantly improve public safety and would place an undue financial burden on operators that would reduce the profitability of their respective industry.
While reduced regulations might reduce the cost of operation, it is the general public that will pay the price. Although many groups are pushing for deregulation, there are those that are pushing to strengthen some of the existing rules.
In particular, the Truck Safety Coalition is opposing attempts to relax the current hours of service rules. These rules help combat driver fatigue and reduce the risk of drowsy driving accidents. These types of accidents pose a considerable risk and the rates of drowsy driving accidents are on par with those of drunk driving accidents. The hours of service regulation and others have reduced the rates of injuries and fatalities, and the regulations were put in place precisely for that purpose. Thus, attempts to remove these regulations are likely to cause an increase in the number of injuries and fatalities caused by drowsy drivers.