Look for an upcoming rollback in truck safety rules
Signs point to a relaxing of truck safety rules and regulations in the months ahead.
In early December the Obama administration presented proposals requiring stricter rules about truckers being rested. Congress said No.
With Republicans in charge of Congress and the White House starting January 20, we should probably expect a major rollback of trucking and other commercial regulations, as the GOP moves to show support for business.
The American Trucking Association has promised to return next month and move to block state laws requiring additional rest breaks for truckers beyond those required by federal rules. The association says it is unfair for interstate haulers to have to meet individual safety requirements of states.
Shippers and trucking companies are likely to lobby Congress to increase truck weight limits to exceed 90,000 pounds, and also to lengthen trailers in tandem-trailer combinations from 28 feet to 33 feet.
The feeling among safety experts is that the year ahead of us does not bode well for reducing highway fatalities.
Business trumps safety
Republicans have long believed that too many regulations tie the hands of business, that they are unrealistic and ineffectual. On the liberal side, safety groups say that highway death can be reduced through regulation and education.
For the foreseeable future, the Republican approach can be expected to hold sway.
Which is better politics – live travelers or bigger trucks – will be an issue in the midterm elections in 2018.