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Should the Department of Transportation relax drive-time regulations for truckers?

How many hours should truckers be allowed to drive in a day?

The Department of Transportation is in the process of easing the drive-time rules regulating how long truck drivers can work without rest.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service, long-haul drivers of commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate commerce are currently allowed to drive 11 hours within a 14-hour on-duty period. Ten consecutive off-duty hours must be taken between shifts, and those driving more than eight hours at a time are required to rest for 30-minutes before hitting the eight-hour mark.

On- and off-duty time is automatically tracked for most truckers by electronic logging devices (ELDs), and there’s no wiggle room to account for bad weather, traffic, and load times.

The trucking industry and interest groups representing motor carriers and drivers have been fighting to relax the strict hours-of-service limits, and many truckers welcome the changes. A recent Associated Press article gives the example of a driver who was forced to sleep in the cab of his truck just five minutes from home to avoid a violation, which could lead to fines or being declared “out of service.”

Safety advocates have voiced concerns that the push for more flexibility in hours-of-service limits would weaken the regulations. They also say increased driver fatigue could create more risks for everyone on the roads.

Do you think the Department of Transportation should relax federal regulations for truck drivers? Why or why not? Share your thoughts on the issue in the comments.