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Federal Government Considers Regulating Industry

Many truck drivers in the United States find themselves driving through a number of states on long-haul routes. Currently, when truck drivers travel through different states, the rules and regulations they must follow are subject to change when they cross state borders. But the federal government is considering making changes to the current status quo. 

For the past three years, congress has attempted to federally regulate the trucking industry. All of the proposed bills look to centralize similar trucking industry standards, such as:

  • Compensation. Current rules around truckers' pay vary significantly from state to state. Particularly importantly, some states, such as California, require truck drivers to pay for time where drivers provide non-driving labor, such as waiting for weigh-ins or loading inventory. Other states only require drivers be paid while they'd driving. The proposed bills would regulate pay nationwide.
  • Break and Rest Periods. Mandatory 30 minute meal and rest breaks from drivers are quite different in various states. Federal laws develop a national standard for break times, with one bill proposing a 30 minute break every eight hours.
  • Truck Weights. New Hampshire and North Dakota, as of July, can haul heavier trucks than most other states. Federal laws would most likely allow most parts of the country to use the same higher weights.

 

Since 2015, three bills have been introduced in congress proposing this change. Over 70 truck carriers support federally regulating the truck industry, as well as major trucking organizations like the Western States Trucking Association and American Trucking Association.

However other organizations, like Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, oppose the measures. Opponents to the proposed new regulations express concerns that federal regulations might not keep up with local safety regulations. They're also concerned that major trucking companies would lobby to lower wages and reduce employee regulations. Congress continues to work on crafting a bill that will be a compromise for supporters and opponents.

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