Some big rig drivers not happy about new federal regulations

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - The Federal Motor Carrier Administration's regulations to help improve safety and reduce fatigue among big rig drivers took effect on July 1.

The new regulations limit the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours.

They also require a 34-hour reset period after they have reached 70 hours of driving, with specified time periods included in the reset. Also, drivers must take at least a 30 minute break after eight hours of driving.

The new rules don't sit well with some drivers.

"A lot of places run eight hours, you can't take a break, you're sitting on the side of the road," said Paul Cox on Friday. Cox is a 30-year veteran trucker out of Tennessee who made a stop in Kern County.

Michael Bessey, who has been a long-haul driver for 12 years, said he's seen a lot of changes in all the rules during that time.

"That last time I did a 34 hour reset, because I didn't qualify under any of those three guidelines, I ended up sitting for two and a half days, and that's a pretty huge loss in revenue," said Bessey.

Drivers said it can also affect delivery times and sometimes fines are involved when shipments are late.

"We're over-taxed, we're over-regulated, the trucking industry is probably the worst for it," said Bessey.

The government claims the regulations were changed to reduce the number of accidents involving big rigs on the roadways, but drivers said they know when to stop.

"You're an adult out there. You know when you get tired. Pull over, take a nap, go to sleep," said Cox.