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New law to cut truck drivers' time on the road

10:11 PM, Jun 13, 2013   |    comments
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Beginning next month, new laws will be enforced that mean truckers will spend less time on the road each week.

Starting July 1st the government will begin enforcing rules that cut the number of hours truckers can spend behind the wheel from 82 hours to 70 hours per seven-day week.

Smoky Mountain Truck Driving Institute Director Nikki Singletary says she's concerned it will make an industry shortage of drivers even worse.

Singletary got her Class A CDL license in 1960 and has kept it ever since. For the past 10 years she's taught at the institute. Before that she spend 20 years as the safety director instructor for Roadway Transportation.

The government hopes restricting hours will force drivers to take more down time and reduce crashes related to trucker fatigue.

"I don't necessarily believe that," says Singletary. She thinks that companies will be forced to compensate by putting more trucks on the road.

"It will cause more congestion, it will put more trucks on the highway because it takes away driving time," says Singletary.

Analysts project it will also create a demand for 100,000 additional truckers.

Singletary agrees, "I think it will cause a greater shortage. We have a shortage right now."

When the new rules go in to effect they'll also create more restrictions on how frequently long haul truckers must take breaks. But in most cases the number of hours they can drive for the day will remain set at 11, so long as they don't exceed 70 hours per week.

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