This week, trucking executives urged The U.S. House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit to delay the new hours of service rules scheduled to go into effect July 1 of this year. Trucking safety advocates view the new rules, including taking a half an hour break after 8 hours driving, as necessary to combat driver fatigue. Many in the trucking industry claim the new rules will result in a loss of productivity and money.
It is surprising to me that any driver would not take a break after driving 8 straight hours. We all have to stop for gas, to eat and to use the restroom after 8 hours. Stopping for the restroom cuts into productivity and money that can be made too, but is an essential need for truck drivers. Truck drivers and their needs–including sleep– are important considerations.
I am all for truck companies making money. They are the backbone of industrial America. When a driver stops for gas and the restroom, he or she can extend the break to include a nap or relaxation to help make sure they are alert on the road. The 30 minute rest period makes sense for the safety of all drivers on the road, with one caveat. It is important for us–as a country–to address the serious lack of parking available for truck drivers. If we expect them to pull off the road to rest or nap, there should be a place for them to do so. Drivers should not end up having to drive an hour out of their way to find a place to rest for thirty minutes.