Truck roll­back might in­crease

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

The truck­ing in­dus­try scored a vic­tory this week when Repub­li­can law­mak­ers ef­fec­tively blocked Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion safety rules aimed at keep­ing tired truck­ers off the high­way. But there’s more com­ing down the road.

The Amer­i­can Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tions is pledg­ing to come back next month, when Repub­li­cans will con­trol the White House and Congress, and try to block state laws that re­quire ad­di­tional rest breaks for truck­ers be­yond what fed­eral rules re­quire. The group says there should be one uni­form na­tional rule on work hours for in­ter­state truck­ers and that the ex­tra breaks aren’t nec­es­sary for safety.

The truck­ing in­dus­try’s lat­est tri­umph has caused con­cern among safety ad­vo­cates that it may sig­nal the start of a broad roll­back of trans­porta­tion safety reg­u­la­tions once there’s no longer a Demo­cratic pres­i­dent to check the ten­dency of Repub­li­can law­mak­ers to side with in­dus­try.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it’s go­ing to be an open sea­son on safety in this com­ing Congress,” said Jim Hall, a for­mer Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board chair­man. Ship­pers and some seg­ments of the truck­ing in­dus­try prob­a­bly will also push for long-sought goals of in­creas­ing the weight limit on trucks to more than 90,000 pounds and in­creas­ing the length of in­di­vid­ual trail­ers in dou­ble­trailer com­bi­na­tions from 28 feet to 33 feet, safety ad­vo­cates said.

Congress is also likely to be asked to deal with a wide range of other trans­porta­tion safety con­cerns. The auto and tech­nol­ogy in­dus­tries fear a patch­work of state safety laws will hin­der the de­ploy­ment of self-driv­ing cars.

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