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Safety advocates: poll shows Americans oppose changing restart rule

In a recent post, we wrote that the 34-hour restart rule is among the top concerns for the trucking industry in the coming year. The rule, as we’ve noted, is controversial because of the impact it has had on productivity in the trucking industry and because of the claim that it has actually increased the risk of truck accidents on highways across the nation.

These changes, the industry argues, were brought about by the requirements of the new restart rule, which went into effect in 2013. Now, the trucking industry is reportedly opposing a recent poll in which Americans were asked about the industry’s effort to have the current restart rule suspended. The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners, asked the question whether they supported or opposed “raising the number of hours…from 70 to 82….more than twice the normal work week for most people,” for the trucking industry. 

The results, not surprisingly, were that 80 percent were in opposition while only 17 percent in favor. The survey is being promoted by safety advocates who oppose efforts to roll back the new rule, though the trucking industry has argued that the survey offers nothing meaningful in terms of helping to improve highway safety, particularly because the question wasn’t phrased objectively.

The important thing for the public to understand is that, regardless of your views on the current restart rule, its impact on the trucking industry, and whether it should be suspended, it is still the law and truckers can be held accountable for failing to abide by it. The rule, of course, is intended to protect motorists, and until a better rule is passed those harmed by a negligent trucker in violation of the rule can seek appropriate damages to reflect the violation.

Source: Overdrive Magazine Online, “80 percent of public oppose overturning current hours rule, trucking questions study,” October 17, 2014. 

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