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As Gov. Lee pushes for fewer trucking regulations, some are raising safety concerns



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee has joined 14 other Republican governors pushing “Operation Open Road”— a combined effort to deregulate trucking as the nation experiences supply chain issues.

They’re calling on President Joe Biden to suspend federal regulations, but some say they are needed to keep drivers safe.

The plan is simple according to Tennessee’s 50th governor.

“Allow for trucks to be on the road longer to have different weight restrictions on them, we’re calling for the federal government to lower the age requirements,” Governor Lee said.

The move is to ease regulations to allow more big rig drivers to work faster.

“Of course we’re missing home, we’re missing family but I believe we’re helping people,” Farnham Ali, a truck driver said.

Truckers like Ali says the rules in place currently are to protect drivers.

“Everything is under control because of the safety,” Ali said.

But debate continues as Lee pushes for heavier loads and longer road times.

On Governor Lee’s Facebook, Brian Skaggs wrote: “You have lost your mind. The truck-related accidents on the roads will triple. Not a smart move in my opinion at all. I’ve been a CDL holder for 23 years. This is not the way to resolve this.“

But others like Wes Oberman are praising the move.

“As a trucking carrier, very much appreciate any help we get,” Oberman said. “Our industry is very over-regulated.”

Ali says a lot of companies are wanting more drivers, especially at this time.

But despite the demand for drivers, lowering the driving age from 21 to 18 doesn’t sound like a good idea to some.

“Sometimes yeah and sometimes it’s hard to say yes,” Ali said. “Because more younger, less responsible so that’s what I believe.”

But a closer look at Governor Lee’s trucking executive order does not do anything to allow for an immediate easing of regulations.

Instead, EO 93 instructs relevant departments to work together to identify what could be deregulated and who the department should work with to get more applicants.

Commercial driving license classes typically last three weeks.

The executive order does not supersede federal laws and regulations.



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