WICHITA, Kansas – The highway is theirs and they want to ride it all night long, but a new federal rule will have truckers pumping their brakes a lot more.
From now on, big rig drivers will only able to spend 70 hours a week on the road. It is down from 82 hours.
A major change that leaves veteran drivers like Robert Ivy and wife Janice with doubt.
“The new regulations I think are going to restrict what a driver could earn, and therefore, a lot of drivers are going to quit and that’s going to add to the driver shortages existing.”
According to studies by the Department of Transportation, between 3,000 and 4,000 people die in large truck and bus crashes every year in America, and 13 percent of those deaths were caused by fatigued drivers.
The new law also requires restarts which is a 34-hour off-duty periods designed to let drivers rest and catch up on sleep along with an additional required half an hour rest period.
“Overall, companies are going to have a harder time getting their products delivered. It’ll cost them more to get the deliveries made, and they’ll have to pass the cost over to the consumers,” said Robert.
Herman Bolte, an instructor at Wichita Truck Driving School, has been drilling the new regulations into future drivers heads.
“Some of the reasons why federal motor carriers have done this is to implement safety and less fatigue drivers,” said Bolte.
But those who haul the freight disagree.
“I believe the drivers that work at night will be tired because they will never have that constant hourly time when they’re used to,” said Janice Ivy, truck driver.
With new rules, come new penalties per an offense. Any company that allows their drivers to violate the maximum limit could face an $11,000 fine as drivers could face a civil penalty worth over $2,000.