Survey: Most Michigan residents oppose proposed trucker regs

July 12, 2016
A survey by MichiganAutoLaw.com finds that only 13% of Michigan residents approve of the trucking industries' request to allow drivers to work 82 hours a week.

A survey by MichiganAutoLaw.com finds that only 13% of Michigan residents approve of the trucking industries' request to allow drivers to work 82 hours a week.

The results from a recent survey show that the majority of Michigan residents want stricter rules governing the trucking industry. According to the survey, only 13% approve of the trucking industries' request of allowing drivers to work 82 hours a week. More than 71% believe the HOS (hours of service) should be reduced.

"I've voiced my opinion on restricting the hours of service even further," stated Steven Gursten, an attorney with MichiganAutoLaw.com. "Many of my more serious truck accident cases were caused when truck drivers were driving well over hours, or simply didn't get enough rest."

According to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, nearly 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year and driver fatigue is a leading factor. However, safety experts say it isn't just the hours of service making roads dangerous. In the past, studies have shown that the size and length of a tractor trailer have proven to be deadly combinations as well.

The recent survey shows that nearly 59% of Michigan residents disapprove of increasing the max weight limit for trucks to more than 90,000 pounds. Almost 58% disapprove of increasing the maximum length of tractor trailers to 80 feet long.

The survey results stem from the trucking industry's recent attempt to put 18-wheelers the height of an eight-story building rumbling down the road at 65 to 70 miles per hour. They've also repeatedly tried to allow heavier trucks on the road, a move opposed by safety advocates.

"An 80,000-lb. tractor-trailer is extremely dangerous.  It's like driving a moving brick wall," stated Gursten. "Also, the longer the tractor trailer, the greater the chance of a serious accident. It's just physics."

Last year, Congress proposed legislation that would allow drivers as young as 18 to get behind the wheel of big rigs on the nation's interstates. Federal regulations currently require drivers be at least 21 before they can drive commercial trucks across state line. Nearly 65% of Michigan residents oppose dropping the age any lower than that.

"It's no secret that the crash rate involving newer drivers 18-20 is significantly higher than the rest of the driving population," stated Gursten. "Inexperience coupled with poor driving judgment and higher-risk behavior, combined with driving large trucks can be a formula for devastation."

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