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Todd Dills

Restart watch: Whoopi doesn’t get it either

| June 17, 2014

Off-duty hours

Add the New York Times editorial board to the long list of mainstream media organizations who’ve misrepresented what exactly the bipartisan amendment to the DOT funding bill in the Senate would do to truckers’ hours of service rules. To the NYT’s credit, they got a little farther than “rolling back the hours rules” in their description of what the restart-change rule would do (unlike National Public Radio’s All Things Considered program, as I wrote over the weekend — though the Diane Rehm Show, says owner-operator Jeff Clark, did a better job with it) — i.e. suspend the restriction on 34-hour-restart use to once per week and the requirement that it must include two 1-5 a.m. periods. Erroneously, they painted the amendment like it was doing away with the 34-hour restart altogether. 

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The NYT board also went much farther than NPR, taking the opening that the recent tragedy in New Jersey seems to have presented to mainstream news organizations around the country for some trucking villification. To wit, here’s their headline and deck: “Drowsy Drivers, Dangerous Highway: The trucking industry wants to weaken safety rules.” 

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Attention NYT: There are a lot of people out here who believe the changes that have been proposed in draft legislation may actually, on the contrary, “strengthen safety rules,” or at the very least give back a little more of the choice professional interstate haulers enjoy most: which is the ability to drive when rested and sleep when tired, exercising the best discretion on that score free from the pressure to move that is in some cases a result of the rules themselves. (There are several other related problems with the hours of service, in the view of others, but we’d be here for days if I kept on going, and I’ll say it’s true that the rules are there for a reason, of course, and their one-size-fits-most simplicity is something to be desired, if it doesn’t always work out that way…. I’ll stop for now.)

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If any of the reporters out there would like to know what the Collins amendment in the Senate actually would do, please read this story.  If you have further questions, check out the linked stories in this piece for background — if you still have questions, email me and I will get back to you pronto: tdills [at] randallreilly.com. 

That goes for Whoopi Goldberg, too, who in a “Whoopi’s Rant” installment on her YouTube channel expressed outrage that Senators wanted drivers to get less sleep. As former trucker Marc Mayfield wrote to me earlier in the day, “Whoopi doesn’t get it” either.

Check out her rant below, and you can watch it on her channel via this link.

[youtube 8EdH4XhmXtE nolink]

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