Modified work hour restrictions have truck drivers honking mad - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Modified work hour restrictions have truck drivers honking mad

August 20, 2005

Albany- Two people were sent to the hospital when this SUV was pushed off the road and over a guardrail along Clark Avenue. The SUV was pushed by a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel. It's just one example why the Bush administration announced modifications to work hour rules for the trucking industry.

"In a way I can see their point, people get tired and drowsy and sleepy and falling asleep at the wheel," said truck driver Abraham Soliz, of Temple, TX.

"A lot of them don't know when to call it quits," said truck driver Russell Rogers, of Albany.

But some driver's say these work hour restrictions are also making their job tougher.

"Because we have up to eleven hours straight before we have to have a ten hour break, sometimes it's not enough time for us to get there, to our destination," said driver Mike Vidales, of El Paso, TX.

Under the revised rules, long haul truckers can still work up to six days a week and 11 consecutive hours, but truckers with sleep berths, must rest for up to eight hours in a row.

"You're not going to be able to split your sleeper berth up no more like we use to be able to, you got to do it all at one time now," said Rogers.

Drivers say that cuts the hours they can drive and also creates a parking situation. "Very few truck stops have enough spaces, you have to be in them by four o'clock in the afternoon to get a place to park," said Rogers.

Drivers feel they're being unfairly targeted by the law and blamed for accidents that are often caused by car drivers who don't realize how much it takes to stop a big rig.

"Everybody gets tired, regardless of who it is, they ought to check out the four wheelers, you know cars, trucks," said Vidales.

"If you check the stats from Triple A, most of the accidents with a truck and a car, are caused by the car," said Rogers.

"Some of us out here are just trying to make an honest living and with the hours that they're changing and rules that are coming in with the laws and regulations, it's not really doing any good for the drivers." said Vidales.

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