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Federal Law Suspended to Allow Truck Drivers to Deliver Essential Goods

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal organization that governs and regulates the trucking industry in the United States. Since the late 1930s, the FMCSA has enforced “hours of service” regulations, which restrict how many hours a truck driver can drive without resting.

On March 13, the FMCSA said that certain truck drivers, those who are moving goods to support the emergency relief efforts connected to the coronavirus pandemic, will not have to follow the hours-of-service laws for a temporary period. While the hours-of-service rules have been altered temporarily before on local and state levels amid natural disasters, this is the first time it’s been done on a national level.

Trucks Delivering Critical Goods

"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," said America Trucking Associations spokesperson, Sean McNally. "This waiver will help keep loads of medicine, supplies, and food moving as the country manages this current pandemic."

According to the most recent HOS regulations, truck drivers are allowed to drive 11 hours total during a 14-hour work period. Then, they have to be “off-duty” for 10 consecutive hours. The HOS regulations aim to eliminate the risk of fatigued truck drivers on our roads.

The goal of HOS rules is to ensure exhausted truck drivers don’t cause truck accidents, which places other roadway users at serious risk. It’s no secret, however, that many truck drivers dislike the HOS regulations. Some of them claim the strict regulations actually cause problems in their sleep cycles and increase the chances of them driving while tired.

“The FMCSA hours of service (HOS) rules are designed to eliminate the type of drowsiness that can lead to crashes. Although many commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers feel that they know when they are getting drowsy, various laboratory tests have shown that persons are not good at estimating their own drowsiness,” according to FMCSA.

Injured in a Drowsy Driving Truck Accident?

If you were injured in a truck accident with a drowsy truck driver, we urge you to contact our firm to file a claim. Truck accidents are not the same as standard car accidents as there are many more moving parts and players involved. Call today to schedule your free consultation.