WASHINGTON (AP) — A New Jersey highway crash that severely injured Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian is drawing attention to the dangers of tired truckers just as the industry and its allies in Congress are poised to roll back safety rules on drivers’ work schedules.
The proposed change is backed by the trucking industry and opposed by safety advocates and the Obama administration. It would effectively let truck drivers put in as many as 82 hours a week behind the wheel. The change was recently added to a transportation spending bill in the Senate.
The trucking industry has been sparring with safety advocates and unions over driver hours for two decades. The government says nearly 4,000 people die in large truck crashes each year and driver fatigue is a leading factor.