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Congress Considers Suspending Trucker Regulations

Updated: Wednesday, June 11 2014, 11:17 PM CDT

Tired truckers. It's an issue making news because of a crash involving popular comedian Tracy Morgan.

It's also a topic of concern because of an amendment making its way through Congress. Congress is considering an amendment to suspend some federal regulations put in place last July. These regulations limit the amount of time truck drivers spend behind the wheel and scaling back on them is proving to be controversial.

"My journeys they be like 8, 9 hours," truck driver Tyronne Harris said.

Harris admits while he sacrifices a lot spending so much time on the open road sleep is not something he's willing to compromise.

"I never have any problem staying awake I get enough rest. I don't know about other drivers," Harris said.

Other drivers like Kevin Roper, who investigators say was awake for 24 consecutive hours before causing this crash that killed one man and left three others in critical condition including comedian Tracy Morgan.

"You know it make it look bad for all of us," Harris said.

Current regulations limit the maximum work week for truck drivers to 70 hours unless they rest for 34 consecutive hours in between, including at least two nights between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The rules also say truck drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift and follow an 11-hour-a-day driving limit as well as a 14-hour work day limit.

"Problem here is that there's one portion that doesn't seem to be working and maybe they ought to take another look at that one portion," Mid-West Truckers Association Executive Vice President Don Schaefer said.

He is talking about the portion that limits truck drivers to 70-hour weeks. Scheafer says that doesn't guarantee truck drivers are actually resting during their time off.

"It's basically saying you can't drive at this time anymore, you have to drive these other hours," Scheafer said.

And according to truck drivers like Harris there simply are not enough hours in the day.

"You know, you get your money by the miles and then all the breaks. That really make it hard to make any money," Harris said.

Supporters of keeping the truck driver safety regulations in place say it saves 19 lives a year and prevents 1,400 crashes.

But some trucking groups say the regulations are not working as well as previously thought and it's a good idea to suspend at least some of these regulations so a different strategy can be put in place.

This amendment to suspend these regulations has only passed a U.S. Senate committee. It still needs to pass the full Senate and the House before it can get to the president's desk.

Congress Considers Suspending Trucker Regulations

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