Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Here's the real answer to trucker fatigue

Unionize the whole trucking industry.

That's what Hamilton Nolan says over at the delightfully snarky Gawker blog.

Nolan today made fun (sort of) of a Wall Street Journal story on new regulations to promote trucking safety. The rule will cut  truckers' maximum work week down to 70 hours from 82. It will also require them to take rest breaks during the day. Writes Nolan,
The goal is to make sure those hardworking truck drivers out there get some nice sleep, so they don't plow into the rest of us at high speeds.
According to the Wall Street Journal,
The Teamsters union, which represents 600,000 truckers, has pushed for stricter limits on drivers' hours, arguing that having shorter work days and longer rest periods would improve worker safety while creating jobs. 
What they're referring to is the 34-hour restart provision, which says that's how long truckers must rest after a work week before hitting the road again. The Teamsters are concerned that isn't long enough and will have a cumulative effect on drivers.

Nolan cuts right to the chase, though: He writes the regulations will cost the trucking industry "one-third of one percent of its annual revenue."
Still, independent truckers are outraged, because they say this will make it harder for them to compete with the big trucking companies, and the big trucking companies are outraged because they say this will eat into their profit margins. (Unionized truckers don't give a shit because they already have better hour and job security thanks to their union.)
Nolan's recommendation:
Unionize the trucking industry ...  tax the rich and subsidize sleep for the working class...
Yeah, baby!