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Interest groups aim to head off potential HOS change

Oct. 17, 2014

Results from a new public opinion survey sponsored by several highway safety-focused interest groups are being used as part of a broader effort to head-off Congressional efforts to increase the allowable work hours for truck drivers from 70 to 82 per week.

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) and Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) commissioned Lake Research Partners to conduct this survey back in August, which found 80% of the 1,016 men and women in the poll did not support raising the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to work per week.

"This survey reveals a clear disconnect between what the public wants and what special trucking interests want from Congress at the expense of public safety for everyone,” noted AHAS President Jackie Gillan in a statement. “We urge Congress to reject this anti-safety change and heed the public's correct assessment of the dangers."

The change in question is contained within an appropriations amendment sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) last June that got tabled in the wake of a high-profile crash that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and left one of his traveling companions dead.

When Congress goes back into session following the November elections, AHAS said debate will resume on annual spending bills for federal agencies – including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development FY 2015 Appropriations bill, which contains the controversial weekly-hours boost in a rider within the Senate’s version of the bill, S. 2438.

At the same time, another appropriations rider – this one sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) – seeks to cancel out Collins’ amendment.

“Truck accidents are on the rise and driver fatigue is a leading cause,” said Sen. Booker back in June when he and several colleagues introduced their amendment.

“Truck drivers are working extremely long days to deliver the goods we depend on, but it should never be at the cost of their safety and that of other drivers,” Booker added. “My amendment … calls for the preservation of basic protections that allow these drivers to get sufficient rest to do their job safely and efficiently.”

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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