A hallmark of the Trump administration has been to roll back government regulations, not just those imposed during the administration of Barack Obama but also some that long preceded the nation’s previous president.
Some of the deregulation has been good, but some of it has not.
One change the administration is presently considering is a particularly bad and dangerous idea. It would relax the rules, adopted in the 1930s, that restrict how long the drivers of 18-wheelers can be on the road at any one stretch.
The current limits are 11 hours of driving time within a 14-hour window. Once they have hit that limit, the truckers have to stay off the road for at least 10 hours — presumably to get some sleep — before firing their rig back up. If they are going to be driving for eight hours or more, they have to take at least one 30-minute break before hitting the eight-hour mark.
Some truckers and their trade organizations don’t like the restrictions because they believe they could make more money without them.
But it’s not just the trucking companies’ income that’s at issue. So is the safety of everyone else with whom they share the highways.
Fatigued driving is a hazard, regardless of the size of a vehicle. It’s exponentially more so when a sleepy driver is behind the wheel of a fast-moving machine that weighs 10 to 15 times more than passenger cars around it.
Eleven hours behind the wheel is plenty generous for truck drivers and the companies for which they work.