The National Transportation and Safety Board recommends that the Feds do more to police truckers' hours
The NTSB held a hearing on September 16 to assess the role that fatigue plays in trucking accidents. The hearing was prompted by a 2005 collision in Wisconsin that involved a high school band bus and an overturned semitrailer, killing five people. The NTSB concluded that employers and the government do not do enough to enforce the limitations on driving hours imposed by the Federal Government.
In fact, the Bush Administration has been pressing to relax the limitations on truck drivers' hours of operation. With regard to the Wisconsin case, NTSB investigators concluded that the semi- driver had dozed off, allowing his rig to gradually enter the median. The driver claimed he was merely driving too fast when he attempted to pull over to relieve himself. In any event, when the driver abruptly tried to return to the highway, he overturned in front of the bus. The truck driver had left his mandatory log empty for the past five days, a not uncommon strategy, perhaps to allow him to conform his hours to government mandates after-the-fact. We have seen numerous examples of this practice. Many trucking companies structure compensation for drivers in ways that encourage the drivers to defy regulations governing hours of operation.