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Federal Truck Regulations Relaxed Due to COVID-19

Truck drivers may now be at risk of fatigued driving due to relaxed federal regulations.

COVID-19 has impacted just about every industry in the world, including the trucking industry. Many commercial truck drivers are driving long distances to transport essential goods and services that are needed during this time, including medical supplies, groceries, and sanitizers. Hospitals and health care centers are feeling the strain of treating patients and many are continuously running out of supplies, while grocery stores also feel pressured to keep their aisles stocked. As a result, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has decided to lift their restrictions on how long truckers can drive without taking rest breaks.

Commercial truck drivers operate under federal regulations and are typically limited to driving for 11 hours in a 14-hour day to avoid creating accidents due to fatigued driving. Fatigued driving can affect any driver, but it’s a common risk associated with commercial truck drivers, and the FMCSA reported that 13% of truckers involved in accidents were considered fatigued at the time of the accident.

The lifted restriction now means that drivers can extend their trips to deliver their essential goods as quickly as possible to grocery stores, hospitals, and other businesses. However, it’s important to note that this new development only applies to those who are transporting emergency supplies. Drivers delivering goods deemed non-essential or mixed are still required to follow normal hours-of-service regulations.

What Does This Mean?

While it’s true that now more healthcare centers and hospitals can receive their emergency supplies when they need them, there is now an increased risk of road accidents caused by fatigued drivers. The longer truckers drive without taking rest and meal breaks, the more likely they are to become distracted or even fall asleep at the wheel altogether, endangering themselves as well as the cars and pedestrians around them.

Examples of fatigued driving include drifting into other lanes or onto oncoming traffic, not braking or stopping in time before encountering slowed traffic or road hazards, and running red lights or missing important traffic signals. All drivers need to understand the signs of fatigued driving so they can avoid potentially colliding with a truck driver.

Signs a truck driver may be fatigued include:

  • Slower than average driving
  • Failure to signal before changing lanes
  • Drifting into other lanes
  • Failure to put on lights at night
  • Driver yawning
  • Erratic truck movements, such as swerving or hard braking

If you believe a truck driver to be fatigued, it’s important to stay out of the danger zone. Make sure you’re not hidden in the truck’s blind spots – if they’re distracted, they may not be able to detect you before they change lanes.

Putting Our Clients’ Needs First

After a truck accident, you may be left with injuries that confine you to your bed or couch for weeks and sometimes months. Truck accidents can cause serious injuries that require costly medical treatments and lost wages from having to miss work. If your accident was caused by a negligent driver, Belushin Law Firm, P.C. can be by your side to help you heal through achieving compensation. We strive to make the legal process more affordable by providing free consultations and through our contingency fee work, which means we don’t get paid until you do. Once we’re hired by a client, we jump into our work and investigate the accident so we can gather the evidence needed to back up your claim.

At Belushin Law Firm, P.C., our truck accident attorneys are committed to helping individuals who have been injured in accidents and have recovered millions of dollars since 2002. Call us immediately for a free consultation at (888) 918-9890, or contact us online. Truck accident injuries tend to be more serious and expensive to treat – we can help you secure the compensation you need.