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May 12, 2016

TRUCKERS' FATIGUE * USA: Give drivers a break

* Is a 73-hour truck driver work week worth the traffic fatalities it would cost?

--- Here's something you don't see every day — trucking companies that want to be more tightly regulated. But that's what happened last week when some of the nation's motor carriers publicly expressed their concern that the federal government is in danger of allowing truck drivers to be on the road too long... Driver fatigue is a leading factor in truck crashes that kill about 4,000 Americans and injure 100,000 more each year. Truck operators need time to rest and recover or else they put themselves and others on the road in danger. While drivers of large trucks are less likely to cause crashes than the average motorist, the consequences of a collision are far more deadly... But some in the trucking industry would like to see the road hour rules relaxed, and they are attempting to change them in the classic back alley method — by attaching a rider to a spending bill. Under an amendment added to the transportation and housing appropriations bill currently pending in the Senate, the nation's 3 million commercial drivers would be able to work for 73 hours in a 7-day period instead of the current 60-hour limit... Those extra 13 hours are no small change — under current rules, truckers can work 70 hours but only if it's spread over eight days, not seven. But don't take our word for it. One of the strongest objections we've seen voiced so far is from The Trucking Alliance, a driver safety advocacy group that is supported by major carriers like J.B. Hunt and Knight Transportation... Does the motoring public want dangerously tired truck drivers on the road? It's a pretty safe assumption they don't, and that's why you seldom see such anti-safety proposals on stand-alone bills — they wouldn't pass if the voters knew what was going on...
Baltimore, ,USA - The Baltimore Sun - 9 May 2016


* North Carolina - Sleepy trucker's crash amplifies dire need for truck parking

--- When Glen Hamblin’s eyes opened, all he could see was a concrete barrier drawing closer... The 53-year-old truck driver from Hyrum, Utah, had fallen asleep at the wheel after he said he was unable to find a legal place to park while delivering a load of potatoes in North Carolina. Hamblin’s truck, which he purchased less than two months earlier, smashed into the barrier before fuel and thousands of pounds of potatoes spilled onto Interstate 77 about 2 a.m. Friday in Charlotte. The impact of the crash caused the engine to be thrown out of the vehicle, which started on fire... Hamblin was taken to a local hospital with several cuts, but he escaped major injury and was released soon after... Hamblin, who has used electronic logs in the past, said the device adds to the fatigue problem. “E-logs do not work,” Hamblin said. “The company wants you to get your miles in. So when the e-log says you can drive, then you drive. Maybe your body doesn’t say it’s time to drive. With electronic logs, you drive tired” ... Hamblin said this was his first wreck in 11 years. Now he's looking for new employment... 
(Photo CNBC: Truck crashes, dumps potatoes on I-77 North Carolina highway) -- Charlotte, NC, USA - Land Line, by Mark Schremmer - 10 May 2016

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