Road safety advocates in California and around the country are worried that President-elect Donald Trump's campaign stance on regulations could place road users in danger. During a contentious and controversial presidential election campaign, Trump vowed to support American businesses and encourage entrepreneurship by slashing regulations. He also floated the idea of forcing federal agencies to eliminate two existing regulations for every new rule put into place.
California residents may have heard that federal lawmakers moved to suspend rules aimed at keeping tired truckers off the road. Specifically, the rules called for truck drivers to take two nights off after working up to 75 hours a week. Currently, drivers are required to take a 35-hour break at the end of a work week, and they were at one time required to include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. as part of that 35 hours.
Truck drivers in California and around the country may be able to look forward to better working conditions once autonomous trucks become a part of the industry. The American Transportation Research Institute says that autonomous trucks will still require a driver in the cab, so they will not lead to job loss. However, it is hoped that the introduction of the vehicles will cut down on driver fatigue and allow operators to work on other tasks, such as logistics, during the time they would ordinarily be driving.
The legalization of marijuana for recreational use, medicinal use or both may be on the rise, but use of the drug remains off limits for commercial truck drivers in California and elsewhere across the country. According to the Department of Transportation, marijuana is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, and the department has indicated that it will stand by its previously established stance as long as this remains so.
California truck drivers and their employers might want to know about a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit that was handed down in late October. The court upheld the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's rule mandating the installation and use of electronic logging devices on trucks instead of the paper log system that had previously been used by many companies.
A multi-vehicle California crash on Oct. 3 left one person dead. Authorities say that they do not know what caused the crash although weather was not a factor.
A nationwide initiative to improve safety among drivers may result in stronger regulation on California roads. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration's Operation Safe Driver Week will run from Oct. 16 - 22 with a focus on reducing unsafe behavior among motorists. The program emphasizes safety among passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles alike.
It was early on a weekday morning, a little less than an hour before sunrise. Off to the side of Interstate 5, just south of Bakersfield, a Tranquility man's Jeep Cherokee had run out of gas. A 27-year-old Fresno resident had pulled his car on to the right freeway shoulder to help get the Jeep refueled.
Everyone in Bakersfield knows that Interstate 5 is a fast-moving maze of passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers. The big rigs hauling goods to and from Southern California's cities and farms are important to the economy, but they are also the most dangerous vehicles on the roads, as a recent tragedy near Gorman showed.