Local truck drivers react to possible change to federal commercial driving laws

Updated: Jul. 9, 2019 at 8:14 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A move encouraged by the Trump Administration that would relax current commercial driving regulations has been in talks among the Federal Department of Transportation and Development.

Local truck driver Leon Thibodeaux says driving for an extended period isn’t easy.

“Eight hours of driving is a long time without moving more than your arms and your feet," Thibodeaux said.

As it stands, truck drivers are required to take a 30 minute break before they hit 8 straight hours of driving. Talks of relaxing some of those laws has sparked concern among drivers.

“Sitting behind a wheel for 8 hours is cumbersome. It just wears you down," Thibodeaux said. "That little 30 minute break then driving for another 2 and half hours is extremely beneficial for the drivers.”

Truck drivers that exceed current drive time laws could face detrimental fines. This is why there’s a push to ease them.

“If you don’t take a break that electronic log is tied into the truck," Thibodeaux said. "That electronic log and whatever company you’re working for will know you didn’t take your break.”

Charlotte Leleux, Truck Program Lead for the South Louisiana Community College has been a truck driver for 18 years. She explained the effects of driving for an extended period.

“Time would be slower after that 10th hour than it was say at hour number 1 so you’re just increasing your chances of a liability happening an accident happening or you know things that are just not positive for the driver,” Leleux said.

While plans are still in the works, Thibodeaux hopes it stays as is.

“It would be detrimental to the industry I believe," Thibodeaux said.

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