Truck Drivers Wary of Upcoming Gov't Mandate

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WESLACO – A new government mandate isn't sitting well with truck drivers.

Drivers will have to buy a device to keep track of the hours they spend on the road. It's designed to help keep exhausted drivers off the road.

Diego Contreras, a truck driver, agrees with the idea, but he says delivery deadlines will make this mandate difficult.

Contreras started off as a truck driver about 17 years ago. He said keeping track of hours is just part of the job.

"We fill out hours in a log book whenever we start driving. After six and a half hours we take a mandatory 30-minute break," Contreras explained about his daily routine.

There's a change on the horizon. A new government mandate is looking to make drivers ditch the paper and go digital.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said this is to make sure drivers are following regulations.

Contreras says he sees some problems with it already

"It's going to be very difficult because in order to deliver on time you need to have two drivers because whenever your time is up, the law requires you to sleep," said Contreras.

According to the Department of Transportation, truckers like Contreras can only drive up to 11 hours within a 24-hour time frame. After this, they're required to take a 10-hour break.

These electronic logging devices will make sure drivers are following the rules.

"If we are an hour away from our destination if I don't have another driver, I'm going to have to wait for 10 hours and that's going to complicate things," said Contreras.

Contreras feels in order for this to work, companies will need to have more flexible delivery times.

Right now, truckers or companies need to pay out of pocket for these devices. They can cost several hundred dollars.

Drivers must have them installed before Dec. 18.


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