Contributed by: Rhianna Weir
Truck drivers are facing increasing difficulties as states and cities continue to place restrictions on their activities. Many ordinances are in effect regarding hours of service and idling laws. Drivers, by law, are required to get ten hours of rest for every eleven hours they drive. Anti-idling ordinances restrict idling to five minutes per hour.
During the winter and summer months, these rules and regulations provide a challenge as our drivers struggle to rest in often, extreme conditions. In addition, driving in conditions such as rush hour traffic, severe weather is stressful. Furthermore, professional drivers are under extreme stress when they are required to balance safe driving practices with demanding delivery schedules. Finding a safe place to park, dealing with the general public, shippers and receivers, and family is indeed, a balancing act.
Our society is only recently becoming educated about the plights of the trucking community. Legislation has been introduced which requires the trucking community access to safe parking. In addition, there is a movement created by some physicians who are helping truck drivers gain better access to medical care. However, there is one need that the trucking community needs to be aware of, and get some bill going to fix it. Emergency Management (FEMA), and local emergency management agencies, have no contingency plans whatsoever where the trucking community is concerned.
At a time when safety and regulations are coming out of the FMCSA regarding truck drivers, as well as other safety-sensitive DOT-type professions, why is there no contingency in place for the men and women who travel the interstates each day when it comes to emergency situations? Businesses have been known to turn drivers away when severe weather threatens their locations. Truck drivers have been denied entrance to shippers and receivers during tornado warnings. Furthermore, there are very few tornado shelters or other type of disaster relief management efforts geared for the trucking community, specifically professional truck drivers.
To sum it up, at a time when the FMCSA is making every attempt possible to create safer highways for the general public, why are there no attempts being made to secure the safety of the professional truck driver?