Tracy Morgan Crash Reopens Hours of Service Debate

Too Late

The recent truck accident that put popular actor Tracy Morgan in the hospital with serious injuries and killed one of the passengers in his limo could not have come at a worse time for commercial truckers. The crash has added fuel to the fire, beefing up arguments for tougher hours of service regulations.

Hours of Service Debate Reopened

Senators have reopened the hours of service (HOS) debate with proponents and opponents of the current HOS regulations squaring off in competing attempts to either toughen or weaken the final HOS rules that went into effect last year.

According to NJ.com, New Jersey Senators Cory Book and Robert Menendez plan to sponsor legislation that would repeal a June amendment to relax HOS regulations passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee. New concerns about truck safety in the wake of the Tracy Morgan crash, in which the truck driver admitted he had not slept for 24 hours, have senators rethinking their earlier decision to decrease HOS standards.

Hours of service rules that took effect last summer limited the maximum work week for commercial trucker to 70 hours and required 34 consecutive hours of rest, including overnight rest, before truckers could restart their clocks. The trucking industry argues that the rules increase accident potential by forcing more trucks on the highways at peak traffic times.

Truck Driver Support Jeopardized

Siding with truckers, the Senate committee amendment sponsored by Senator Susan Collins of Maine delayed implementation of certain work limits and ordered the Department of Transportation to restudy HOS impact on the trucking industry.

When passed, the Senate committee amendment had broad support, but the Tracy Morgan accident has jeopardized that support, causing Senators to reconsider driver fatigue. As a result of the Tracy Morgan crash, the National Transportation Safety board has launched a nationwide truck safety inquiry.

Has the Tracy Morgan accident changed your opinion about HOS rules? Post your comments on TruckerToTrucker.com.

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