(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters Union today called for a renewed commitment by Congress to protect the driving public by keeping current hours of service rules in place to help prevent tragedies that are the result of driver fatigue.
Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan has filed a lawsuit against Walmart, accusing the company of negligence and reckless conduct. The Walmart truck driver involved in the crash had reportedly been behind the wheel despite not resting for 24 hours straight at the time of the wreck.
“More than 600,000 of our 1.4 million Teamster members turn a key to a truck for a living. The highways and byways are their office,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Naturally, highway safety is important to our union. Every one of our members understands that we must have hours of service rules in place that prevent driver fatigue. A tired driver is a dangerous driver.”
More than 4,000 lives are claimed each year on our highways in accidents involving trailer trucks and the fatal accident last June is the ninth for Walmart’s trucking fleet in the last 24 months. This frequency raises serious questions about if the retail giant – which has a reputation as a bad actor when it comes to worker treatment – requires strict adherence to the hours of service rules by its drivers.
“It is not uncommon for drivers to feel pressured by their employers to drive well beyond 60-70 hours a week,” Hoffa said. “When drivers ignore the 34-hour restart provision in the current hours of service regulations – either by choice or by design – accidents occur. Congress must protect the people it serves by keeping the current hours of service rules in place and ensuring companies don’t force drivers to break the law.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.