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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Corona virus killing regulations



To get aid in the corona virus panic, the Trump administration is waiving all sorts of federal regulations, and not just on developing tests and a vaccine, but on such things as making truck drivers take naps.

The Western Journal reported, "All along America’s highways, trucks hauling vital relief supplies are cutting through red tape, thanks to President Donald Trump.

"The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Friday announced that a 1938 law regulating the hours of service for truck drivers was being waived on a national basis to battle the corona virus. The agency said this was first time the rule had ever been waived throughout the country."

Congress passed the law giving bureaucrats this regulatory authority 82 years ago.

The story said, "The rule currently forbids truck drivers from driving more than 11 hours during a 14-hour work period. After that, drivers are required by law to have 10 hours of down time.

"The waiver, issued by Trump and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, exempts truckers hauling medicine and other supplies necessary to battle the outbreak of the virus, FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen said."

Why not exempt them all?

In an emergency, the last thing we need is a truck loaded with medical supplies crashing. And yet the federal government is OK with that risk. Maybe the risk was overstated in the first place. Maybe truck drivers know how much sleep they need.

The America Trucking Association's spokesman Sean McNally told Business Insider, "Waivers of this type are a common response by FMCSA to natural disasters and crises because trucks delivering food, fuel and medicine are a critical part of the response. This waiver will help keep loads of medicine, supplies and food moving as the country manages this current pandemic."

Business Insider headlined the story, "In an unprecedented move, the Trump administration suspended an 82-year-old road safety law for some truck drivers, showing how much corona virus is pressuring retailers and hospitals to maintain cleaning and medical supplies."

Apparently BI's copy editors don't actually read the stories they write headlines for. Journalists just are not up to the job of informing the public.

But the Trump administration is up to the job of cutting redtape. And it has. This emergency shows more cutting can be done. Regulations on health-care providers are being waived in order to make health care available.

C. Douglas Golden of the Western Journal wrote, "The government getting out of the way is a good thing when you consider how much it’s already dropped the ball. It’s not exactly the administration — although President Donald Trump and his top officers still could have gotten government out of the way earlier, mind you — but the bureaucracy around it.

"Consider the Centers for Disease Control’s test, which could give false positives if a patient was infected with another virus. Instead, the government was forced to turn to the private sector."

Golden pointed to how regulations delayed testing in Seattle.

He wrote, "A report in last week’s New York Times describes the problems infectious disease expert Dr. Helen Y. Chu faced when she tried to start corona virus testing in Seattle. When cases were first confirmed in January, Chu had the ability to test for the disease. And the government had the ability to stop her."

The Times story said, "As luck would have it, Dr. Chu had a way to monitor the region. For months, as part of a research project into the flu, she and a team of researchers had been collecting nasal swabs from residents experiencing symptoms throughout the Puget Sound region.

"To repurpose the tests for monitoring the corona virus, they would need the support of state and federal officials. But nearly everywhere Dr. Chu turned, officials repeatedly rejected the idea, interviews and emails show, even as weeks crawled by and outbreaks emerged in countries outside of China, where the infection began."

She needed FDA approval.

The Times story said, "But the FDA could not offer the approval because the lab was not certified as a clinical laboratory under regulations established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a process that could take months."

When minutes matter, help is months away.

We all know that the FDA saves lives. If you doubt it, look up thalidomide. And truck driving also must be regulated, and at the federal level because it involves interstate travel.

But if the regulations are a hindrance in an emergency, maybe they are not all that necessary.

25 comments:

  1. Replies
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  2. Just because it may be the lesser of two evils to waive a regulation in an emergency, doesn't mean that the regulation is not wise in normal times.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Have two tracks, one the normal regulatory track and the other, almost unhindered company business, provided that the company can prove it can meet estimated liability expenses or liability insurance expenses. This is just an hypothetical comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  4. CS Lewis was right about the most onerous people are the Bureaucrats
    with "good intentions...

    ReplyDelete
  5. One More thing-Quinine:
    May have to alter the Old family recipe to make Gin.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/17/an-effective-treatment-for-coronavirus-covid-19-has-been-found-in-a-common-anti-malarial-drug/

    ReplyDelete
  6. I tried to argue years ago that we need an FDA because I want some assurance that the bottle of aspirin I buy isn't contaminated with heavy metals or worse. My brother pointed out, let the free market do it. Buy brand name and let that brand police its own product to assure purity. Let them go after counterfeit products.
    As for trucking, I don't want drivers hopped up on meth threatening my roads either, but they are anyway. Let their liability insurance weed out the bad actors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Won't you be weeding out the drivers who are injured or killed while we wait for liability insurance rates to make the whole trucking industry too expensive to work correctly?

      Delete
    2. Our trucks have electronic logging devices installed. I believe the DOT is now able to review our hours of service in real-time. The days of drivers hopped up on amphetamines are in the past. I know for certain the DOT can monitor in real-time whether we remembered to enter current trailer data or whether we forgot when we attached a different trailer. Having a wrong trailer entered in the e-log results in our trucks being flagged into the weigh station for an inspection.

      Delete
  7. Its amusing to watch people moan about regulatory burden all the while they say Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce.

    No they don't. Its not in the Constitution. Its not a delegated power by the States. Its a creation of progressive ideology.

    You want to regulate industry then let the states do it. Centralizing power in DC is behind much of what ails this nation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Article 1 Section 8 clause 3. You might want to brush up on your reading.

      Delete
    2. Yep we let Congress delegate their legislative power to unelected bureaucrats. It'd be better to fire them all but just keep paying them so the damage they do is stopped. Just send them home with pay and let attrition take over.

      Delete
  8. The driver hours regs were put in place, first to increase union jobs, but also to stop trucking companies from penalizing drivers for not exceeding what they knew was safe. Perhaps in 1938, an inflexible, heavy-handed reg was all they could think or. But new dynamic regulations could work better in the modern times. Perhaps some fatigue testing device to stop drivers from making bad choices, with penalties for companies that punish drivers for not pushing the limits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct, this was an assist to unions.

      Delete
    2. Back in the days when I worked at the truck stop the truckers relied on Black Beauties and Yellow Jackets. - Elric

      Delete
    3. I caught a Jim Croce concert in the early 70's--he was just starting to move up from the roadhouse circuit. He told of a pill the truckers called a "west coast turnaround"; drive to LA and back. He said they needed a short piece of broomhandle to cram on the gas pedal so they could have both feet free to dance with.

      Delete
  9. If you have a 14 hour drive to make do you quit after 11 and take 10 hours off? A normal person leaves at 5am and arrives at 7pm. I said a "normal" person, not a snowflake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you ever driven a big rig for any length of time? I could hardly drive my own car for fourteen hours straight.

      Delete
    2. We have 4 clocks that control our driving.

      After 14 hours have elapsed, we may not DRIVE again until after a 10-hour break.

      After 11 DRIVING HOURS have elapsed, we may not DRIVE again until after a 10-hour break.

      After eight hours of on-duty-driving and on-duty-not-driving have elapsed, we may not DRIVE again until we have taken a 3p-minute break.

      After we have accumulated 70 hours of on-duty-driving and on-duty-not-driving in an eight day period, we may not DRIVE again until that accumulated running total drops back down to under 70 hours in an eight day period.

      Delete
  10. One of the long-haul drivers I knew (I worked at a bar) said he kept several logbooks. Bob Doe and Bobby Doe. If stopped, he'd just say that he was Bob, and Bobby couldn't be disturbed because he was catching some Zs in the sleeper part of the cab, and by reg couldn't be disturbed.

    There was a Bogart/George Raft movie, They Drive By Night that dramatized the long-haul drivers' drive/rest dilemma. The movie came out in 1940, but was based on a 1938 novel Long Haul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Australian "Lights On The Hill" Truck Drivers Memorial: https://www.lightsonthehill.com.au/

      and the old song that inspired it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et6wYjECxUA

      Delete
    2. ELD (Electronic Logging Devices) made mandatory in 2017 put an end to separate logbooks. There were ways to jimmy even those, but I wouldn't recommend it, major league trouble if you're caught.

      TarsTarkas

      Delete
  11. It's not just the regulation for up time and down time driving, it's the paper work that must be maintained. Any error in the paperwork could cost a driver his license. Just as we've now overwhelmed Doctors with forms they must fill out for every appointment with a patient. (notice how your Dr. spends more time with his laptop than with you?)

    This is always the case. It's not just the reg it's the tracking of observance and the petty bureaucrats who create the paperwork for it. Bureaucrats have few ways to prove they're worth their job because they don't produce anything so they're always looking for ways to make it SEEM like they're being effective to their bosses.

    And as usual when someone's looking for trouble, they usually can find it or make it.

    ReplyDelete
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