New regulatory czar questioned need for Hours of Service rules
On July 31, President Bush announced his intention to nominate Susan Dudley as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget. Through an obscure executive order which has never been authorized by Congress, all federal regulations deemed economically or otherwise significant, as determined by OIRA, require the approval of the agency’s administrator. Ms. Dudley has for several years directed the Regulatory Studies Program of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where she has been a leading critic of most government regulations. As political theory, that position is fairly winsome to those of us who are temperamentally conservative. Where the rubber meets the road, however, public safety may be adversely affected. In the context of trucking safety, Ms. Dudley wrote in a report to Congress criticizing the revision of hours of service rules as follows: "The focus of this rule on reducing driver fatigue is not based on reliable evidence that fatigue is a significant contributor to fatal accidents." She went on to make some other, more reasonable observations about the fallibility of the proposed rule. However, the thrust of her opinion appeared to be that fatigue doesn’t cause fatal wrecks, so truck drivers’ hours of service should not be regulated.
For those of us who deal with the carnage caused by truckers who illegally try to drive 20 hours per day, that seems patently absurd. As a practical matter you have to have some rules to protect public safety, protect all truckers from unreasonable demands of employers to drive unsafe hours, and to protect responsible truckers from unfair competition from those who would push on hours beyond the point of impairment due to fatigue.
The Shigley Law Firm represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.