As regular readers of this blog know well, I have been critical of the Bush administration’s decision to change the time length a truck driver can drive. (Actually, that’s wrong, I think we should reduce the hours.) For 60 years, truckers could drive for 10 hours at a time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently changed the regulation to 11 hours at a time. Does anyone think this would not lead to more truck wrecks? Let’s be serious.
Fortunately, the D.C. Circuit Court threw out the rule, finding that the FMCSA must adequately explain the reasoning behind the decision to add the additional hour. The court found that the “agency freely concedes that ‘studies show that performance begins to degrade after the 8th hour on duty and [the degradation] increases geometrically during the 10th and 11th hours.’”
Common sense will tell you this is a terrible idea. The Teamsters, who represent these guys behind the wheel, also agree it is a terrible idea for drivers to spend 11 hours behind the wheel of such a weapon. This really tells us something. Public Citizen, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety also agreed. I can tell you I spent three hours behind the wheel of my wife’s minivan on my family’s recent vacation and I’m sure I was not as sharp in Hour 3 as I was on Hour 1. This ruling will go into effect in September and our roads will be just a bit safer.