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Trump Administration Looking to Change Regulations, Give Truck Drivers More Freedom

What many don’t know about the trucking industry is that it’s highly regulated. Drivers can’t just hop behind the wheel of a big rig and hurl down the highway as they please. Instead, they can only drive a certain amount of hours during a 24-hour window. This comes among a variety of other rules.

While the regulations can be strict at times, there are certainly reasons for them. With money as a motivator, both truck drivers and their bosses alike might just want to stretch out driving windows to the point where it gets dangerous.

The Trump administration has reviewed these regulations and actually proposed a couple of changes. These changes are designed to remain safe yet allow drivers a little bit more flexibility in their planning.

One of the first and probably most impactful proposals is that drivers will be able to use breaks whenever they would like. Currently, drivers have to be off-duty. This means that they couldn’t be doing anything work-related when they take their break.

However, with this proposal, drivers will be able to take breaks during times like cargo loading. This might not sound like the biggest deal in the world. However, for those who are just trying to get the job done for the day, they might not want to waste double the time sitting around. Taking mandated breaks when they have to stop driving anyway could definitely be a big help. Getting to their longer breaks faster means more time dedicated to making money.

Normally, drivers were required to take one continuous 10-hour break. In the new proposal, this break might be able to be split into a seven and three-hour window. The seven-hour window is designated for sleeping. Furthermore, said trucker can choose to spend the three-hour break in whatever way he or she sees fit.

Via The Hill, “Drivers can also take an off-duty break of between 30 minutes and three hours during a 14-hour driving window under the proposed rules, but they still must take a full 10 hours at the end of that shift.”

Logically, with a required 10-hour break, That would mean 14 hours left in the day for a driving window. However, this new proposal states that drivers might be able to extend that window by two hours if conditions are “adverse.”

Previously, with that 14-hour window, actual driving time would only be able to take up to 12 hours. A part of the new proposal cites that drivers may actually be able to use the whole 14-hour window for driving.

To make things even more complicated, a certain mileage was allowed before drivers had to take a break. Under the new proposal, we might see an increase from 100 “air miles” to 150 “air miles” as a new set distance limit.

The long story short here is that drivers will be able to more easily rearrange their schedule as they please. In this way, they will be able to make their days more customized to their preferences. The regulations here have an important responsibility. On one hand, they don’t want to inhibit the market. On the other, though, they have to watch out for driver and road safety. It’s certainly not the easiest balancing act in the world.