A quiet lobbying campaign aimed at the House Transportation Committee yielded in a few months what years of regulatory struggles had not: a waiver that could exempt service and delivery trucks from more than a dozen rules on the age and physical condition of drivers, on the number of hours they may drive and on paperwork for truck safety and maintenance.
The changes are included in a major highway bill that now is the subject of House-Senate negotiations. It is the same bill that would end the federally imposed 55 mph speed limit and lift requirements that motorcycle riders wear helmets.
Supporters believe the change will provide regulatory relief to thousands of businesses without harming safety.
But the change stunned the insurance industry, which believes it would seriously worsen highway safety and result in higher losses from accident claims.