ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) was moved today to issue a statement on hours-of-service, following the high level of publicity a crash involving a Walmart truck and celebrity comedian Tracy Morgan has received.
Morgan was critically injured, and another comedian killed, when the limo they were travelling in was rear-ended by a Walmart semi.
The media has reported the truck driver was sleep-deprived when the wreck occurred. The ATA, however, pointed out no regulation can dictate how a driver spends his off-duty time, and defended its lobbying efforts for more flexible hours-of-service regulations.
“The hours-of-service rules – whether they are the current regulations, the pre-2013 rules, or the rules with changes we hope to see as a result of Congressional action – only place limits on driving and on-duty time and require that between work periods drivers take a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty. But they do not dictate what drivers do during that off-duty period,” ATA president Bill Graves said in a statement. “No rule can address what a driver does in his or her off-duty time. The industry – including ATA, our member fleets, our state associations and the millions of safe, professional truck drivers on the road today – strongly believes that drivers must take advantage of their off-duty periods for rest and that drivers should not drive if they are fatigued.
“Good public policy and good regulations stem from good research and good data. This is why we support a suspension of the controversial and unjustified restrictions on use of the hours-of-service restart provision, which alters driver sleep patterns and puts more trucks on the road during more risky daylight hours. It is also why we support mandatory use of electronic logging devices to track drivers’ compliance with the hours of service requirements. In addition, it is why we support more aggressive enforcement of traffic laws to combat distracted and aggressive driving as well as restricting the speeds of large trucks to 65 mph with mandatory electronic speed governors.
“Fatigue, while an important safety issue, is a causal factor in less than 10% of all truck crashes, and ATA believes we need to do far more to address the other 90% of crashes.”
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