Michigan-based company driver Valerie Weise is the woman behind TruckerPetition.org, which among other things seeks to direct Congress to consider a “driver sovereignty” bill, giving truckers the same protections in their cabs that they would get in their place of residence.
Weise responded to news of FMCSA’s desire to conduct more effective public outreach with their regulatory review procedures with this top 10 list for the agency to consider. The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee was tasked in August with providing guidance on regulatory review to FMCSA, which will be finalized at their meeting in December in Alexandria, Va.
“There needs to be a return to common sense and American rights in truck regulation,” says Weise. “DOT/FMCSA have too much power. They exist only to make up rules for us, [many of which] are frivolous and petty. The whole thing is more about generating revenue than real safety. We’re not respected as American citizens anymore, it’s like we’re unruly children who need to be minded. We shouldn’t need a bunch of laws to tell us to be safe. We should learn that going in.”
Weise’s top 10
- CSA needs to go. There is already a points system on our CDLs. CSA serves only insurance companies and driver mills.
- Hands-free law should be flexible: there are already laws against driving erratically. This is an educational issue, not a legal one.
- Hours of service need to be more flexible.
- Keep most existing vehicle codes but do inspections at designated weigh stations, not on the roadside where it’s dangerous.
- It is not necessary to drug test (demoralize) a driver if there is an accident that’s not the driver’s fault.
- Closed weigh stations should allow parking. More ramp parking in general would help with fatigued driving.
- Dis-allow speed/engine governors. They are unsafe. Even in Ontario, Canada, where all trucks must be governed, a judge recently ruled that the practice is unsafe and violates the trucker’s right to personal safety.
- Make a prerequisite to entering CDL school — a year’s paid driving driving experience such as pizza delivery, taxicab or newspaper route, where they must drive in all weather.
- FMSCA should stand against many anti-idling laws — if the driver doesn’t sleep well he can be fatigued.
- FMCSA should encourage states to review their split-speed-limit policies as interfering with interstate commerce when there is no clear safety reason for the split or lower speed limit. The lost time adds up over days, weeks, and years to a lot of lost productivity. But the states make a lot of ticket revenue with the current policies.
What would you add to this list?