Since the stay-at-home orders and business restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic have been in effect, many Americans have been stocking up on food and other household goods. As a result, retailers are experiencing product shortages and people cannot get the supplies they need. In order to make product delivery happen more quickly, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently broadened existing exemptions for hours-of-service rules for truck drivers to ensure that truckers are on the road delivering goods as quickly as possible, according to a recent article in EHS Today.
Hours-of-service rules are mandatory federal restrictions on how long a truck driver can remain on the road before resting. The rules are in place to reduce the chances of truck accidents caused by fatigued drivers, who are often on long stretches of road for long periods of time.
However, many consumer safety advocates — as well as truckers themselves — have expressed concerns about the repercussions that relaxed hours-of-service rules could have on motorist safety. Put simply, they’re worried that easing restrictions on required rest breaks could result in more truck crashes.
Importance of Truckers During COVID-19
Long-haul truck drivers are extremely important right now. They’re instrumental in transporting goods and supplies to consumers, as well as to healthcare providers and hospitals across the country. While supplies like personal protective equipment (PPE) are shipped to the U.S. from overseas, truckers still deliver these products along supply routes from coast to coast.
At first, only certain truck drivers who were transporting medical supplies, PPE, and equipment to conduct coronavirus tests were exempted from particular hours-of-service rules. By late March, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had increased its list of exempt supplies to include fuel, food, paper products, and groceries — in short, the essential items that we all need.
Dangers of the Suspended Regulations
If truckers are on the road for more hours than previously allowed, more truck drivers could be at risk of a drowsy driving crash. The hours-of-service rules are aimed at preventing this type of collision. According to a recent ABC News report, even truck drivers are concerned about the increased risks of a fatigued driving collision. They say the shutdowns have made it more difficult to find places to eat and sleep, even when they need to stop.
Injured in a Florida Truck Accident? Contact Brooks Law Group Today
Even during a pandemic, truck drivers have a duty to rest when they are tired and abide by the federal hours-of-service regulations. If you or someone you love got hurt in a Florida truck accident caused by a fatigued driver, it’s important to speak with a Winter Haven truck accident attorney to learn more about your options for seeking compensation.
Call or contact Brooks Law Group today for a free consultation.