The United States has been going through the worst global health pandemic in modern history, and many changes have been made to federal and state regulations regarding certain safety measures. When it was apparent that this pandemic would quickly deplete supplies on store shelves, the federal government suspended regulations regarding truck driver hours of service. These regulations have been in place for more than 80 years, and work to ensure that truck drivers do not operate while fatigued. How long will these changes last, and how are they affecting roadway safety?
Why did the hours of service regulations change?
Federal regulators suspended the 82-year-old road safety laws regarding how many hours commercial truck drivers are allowed to operate during a day and throughout the week. They did this in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to ensure that supplies such as medical equipment, food, and medication would still be available to all Americans. The regulations were suspended in the middle of March and will continue as long as there is a state of emergency ongoing in the US.
Under the normal regulations, truck drivers are only allowed to operate for 11 hours within a 14 hour work period. They are then required to be off duty for ten consecutive hours before they can resume driving on a new set of hours for the day. Drivers are allowed to operate only 60 hours during a seven-day workweek or 70 hours during an eight-day workweek. After a driver reaches the maximum amount of hours in a workweek, they are then required to take 34 or more hours off before they can reset and begin a new workweek.
These regulations are in place to prevent drivers from operating while fatigued. Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These vehicles can cause significant damage and injuries to those inside traditional passenger vehicles in an accident.
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If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the actions of a truck driver or trucking company, you should speak to an attorney immediately. At the Dan Pruitt Law Firm, we are ready to investigate your case and secure any compensation you may be entitled to. You can contact our Greenville truck accident attorney for a free consultation today so we can work to determine the best path moving forward.
Dan Pruitt is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from University of Georgia, and has been practicing law for 25 years. Dan Pruitt believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.