While most people agree that the future of trucking lies in automation, the reality is that that industry won’t become fully autonomous for years. In the meantime, the trucking industry is one of America’s largest. In an effort to bolster the struggling industry, the Trump administration is set to relax federal regulations that had previously heavily curtailed the amount of time a trucker can drive without a break.
It’s easy to see both sides of the argument in this instance. Those in favor of federal regulations that limit the amount of time a driver can go without a break point to statistics that show the amount of accidents truckers are involved in when they drive for extended periods of time.
It’s a good point. According to the Insurance Journal “…there were 4,657 large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2017, a 10% increase from the year before, according to a May report issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency of the Transportation Department.”
Conversely, those who are against the regulations say that it’s unfair to the drivers who are often forced to stop mere minutes from their home to avoid a one-minute fine. The trucking industry has made it clear that they view these regulations as an overreach by the government and don’t want politicians judging the livelihoods of working Americans.
The current regulations force truckers to limit their driving to 11 hours for every 14 hour window. They must then have 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time before they can begin driving on the clock again.
Whether Trump’s Transportation Department will be able to relax these regulations remains to be seen. It is worth noting that the trucking industry has powerful lobbyists in Washington who have been working on this issue for a long time. For now, Trucker’s will have to continue taking their breaks every 11 hours, no matter how close to home they may be.