Speakout

Overdrive Staff | March 01, 2010

HOURS OF SERVICE. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which held four public hearings in January about revising the hours of service rule, this year will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking as part of a settlement with safety groups challenging the current regulations. This month’s SpeakOut contains opinions about revising the rule.

Rule unfair, illogical

My husband, father, brothers and nephew are truckers. I operated a trucking company until I retired.

The current hours of service rule makes the roads less safe than before. More truckers have to drive while fatigued because they are unable to take short naps.

Unlike truckers, medical professionals who give critical life care remain unregulated. Before my mother-in-law died, I witnessed nurses working up to 16-hour shifts. Doctors, too, are known to put in very long hours.

Also, the argument that the big rig’s weight has more safety impact than other vehicles lacks logic. After all, if a sleepy salesman driving a Volkswagen falls asleep while in front of a big rig or loses control of his car, the VW’s light weight can cause catastrophes, from no fault of the big rig.

While some regulations may be important, the roads would be much safer if truckers who monitor their actions responsibly were allowed to do so.

MARY BRENDEL, West Branch, Iowa


 

Regs block efficient work

I’m amazed at the change in Overdrive since Mike Parkhurst launched it in 1961. It seems more of a big-money magazine written in favor of large fleets, who can buy advertising.

In January’s issue, Landstar agent Joanna Wright shows the magazine’s original spirit: “He does not rest until he gets his work done,” Wright said of Trucker of the Month Tim Costen. “I guess he’s going to sleep when he’s dead.”

I was raised to work like that and, as an owner-operator, I raised my sons the same way. But if the government continues to increase regulations, we will be put out of business even though we may be accident-free.

For example, my son recently loaded in Pocatello, Idaho, drove to Idaho Falls, went to bed at 10 p.m. and did his log book at 8 a.m. the next morning. He drove three hours to the scale at Bozeman, Mont., where he was inspected. He had 73 hours in eight days and was shut down until midnight. It’s difficult to sleep eight hours right after a good night’s sleep.

When truckers no longer bend the rules, there’s going to be a lot of wilted lettuce in the stores. The government is gradually turning us into zombies. If you want to be its pawn, be my guest.

REX ZASTROW, Owner-operator | Miller, S.D.


 

COMMENTS TO FMCSA

These are among comments posted online about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed hours of service revision. All comments can be read at www.regulations.gov.


Ricky“The 14-hour rule is too restrictive to drivers’ daily on-duty time and is causing drivers to be in too much of a hurry during the day.”

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