The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) strongly opposes any attempt to weaken current Hours of Service rules, which includes the recently introduced The Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers (REST) Act. This legislation is irresponsible with regards to safety and does not implement effective standards for truck drivers. It just makes the workday longer for truck drivers and the roads less safe at a time when truck crashes, injuries, and deaths continue to rise.
Currently, most truck drivers can drive up to 11 hours per day and work up to 14 hours per day, with a required 30-minute break. This legislation would effectively extend the workday by three hours from its current top limit of 14 hours. It would also inexplicably eliminate the 30-minute rest mandate. Increasing the workday total from 14 hours to 17 hours will not reduce the likelihood that a truck driver is operating while fatigued, which should be a focus of the Congress considering that approximately 65% of truck drivers reported that they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving according to the FMCSA.
This legislation also fails to address a real motivator of dangerous driving behavior: the per-mile pay structure. Most truck drivers are paid by the mile rather than by the hour, which results in many of them experiencing unpaid detention time. If a truck driver is only paid when there wheels are moving, increasing the non-driving workday by three hours, which the REST Act would do, could potentially result in more time that truck drivers work while not being paid for it. This may help shippers, brokers, and motor carriers but it will come at the expense of truck drivers and the public with whom they share the road.
Lastly, the Hours of Service rules underwent rigorous data collection and analysis, public hearings, and Congressional review before being mandated. The REST Act did not. The legislation rests upon the anecdotal evidence of a loud minority of truck drivers who are disgruntled about being given routes that are unrealistic under the Hours of Service rules and who must now face the reality that some of their routes are not legally achievable due to the Electronic Logging Device rule keeping them honest.