Federal Regulations and trucking safety
Despite Federal studies that demonstrate a sharp increase in driving fatalities associated with driving more than ten consecutive hours, the Bush administration recently revised federal regulations to allow truckers to drive for 11 consecutive hours, rather than the ten hours previously allowed. The Bush administration ignored its own safety studies and caved in to industry pressure in order to enhance corporate profits.
Fortunately, two successive federal courts have now struck down this relaxation of driving rules, citing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's own research into safety and consecutive hours of driving. The Court of Appeals' recent decision was unanimous. Hopefully, if the issue gets in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy will join with the moderates and not with the right-wing activists who have been rubber-stamping the interests of the Republican Party. Insurance companies would probably object to this relaxation of regulation, however, several months ago, the Federal Government threw a sop to their lobbyists by limiting liability exposure of interstate trucking companies.