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The New York Times today has published an informative account revealing trucking industry influence on the Bush administration’s relaxation of regulations designed to protect the public from accidents caused by truck driver fatigue.

The Times story identifies trucking industry figures who were appointed to key positions of power within the Bush Administration, and the huge campaign contributions made by the trucking industry to Bush and other Republicans, and the industry’s continual efforts to loosen restrictions on the hours truckers are permitted to work without rest.

I have blogged previously on efforts by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to pass hours-of-service regulations that would increase the hours that truck drivers are permitted to work without rest, this despite its mandate to protect the public. Others have blogged on the absence of any regulations targeting the problem of obstructive sleep apnea even though many drivers are at risk for the disorder.

The Times story points out that the fatality rate for truck-related accidents remains nearly double that involving only cars. This is clearly an area where federal regulation and oversight are necessary to protect the public. But in this administration it appears that the wolf is in charge of the chicken coup.

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