Emily West and Chas Sisk
After only two years of truck driving, Andrew Harris understands the need of regulation in his industry.
Because he is based out of Texas, stopping outside of Nashville is part of his regular routine to reach the Northeast. He doesn’t think the new hours-of-service mandate for truck drivers that started July 1 will negatively affect him or his work.
“Without regulation, I feel like all of us truck drivers, including myself, would be out here running wild going after load after load, especially if you are getting paid off a load basis,” Harris said. “I mean if there was no regulation, I would try to hit Nashville to Texas, drop off my load, get another load and do it again.”
The trucking industry is divided over new federal requirements that place a firmer cap on the number of hours drivers can be on duty. Meant to curb the number of fatalities on highways and improve the health of fatigued drivers, the rules could limit how much money they can make and open truckers to stiff new penalties for driving too long.
With four interstate highways and up to 42,000 truck drivers passing through on 89 miles of road in Davidson County each day, there could be a major impact on Middle Tennessee. Some truck drivers are contesting the changes, and the American Trucking Associations has sued the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to halt the changes.
“Truckers aren’t against rest,” said Sean McNally, the organization’s spokesman.