According to the L.A. Times, there were 4,657 commercial trucks involved in fatal wrecks in 2017, which is a 10% increase over the number of fatal truck crashes seen in 2016. Exactly how many of those fatal crashes involved drowsy and fatigued truck drivers in unclear, but safety advocates fear that deregulating the rest and drive-time rules currently in place for all truckers would undoubtedly lead to more crashes.
Why truckers want to see changes
Many of those in favor of loosening up the regulations in place as far as trucker drive-times argue that doing so would make it easier for semi-truck drivers to avoid unfavorable driving situations, such as inclement weather or heavy traffic. Truckers and others in favor of deregulating the industry also argue that doing so would allow them to spend less time on the road and more time at home with their families.
How safety can suffer
Those opposed to loosening current trucker drive-time rules argue that doing so would undoubtedly lead to more fatigued truck drivers on the nation’s roads and that driving while drowsy or fatigued can have a dramatic effect on trucker performance. Additionally, one recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicated that truck drivers driving under the proposed short-haul exemption are 383% more likely to crash than truckers operating under current regulations.
Driving while fatigued can impact reaction time, alertness and more. Thus, loosening the rules pertaining to trucker drive-times could lead to more truck-involved crashes and more associated road deaths.