For 90 years, Hours of Service regulations have protected American truckers. These laws put strict limits on how long a trucker can work without a break. Over time, these restrictions became more expansive and are now synonymous with making sure drivers get enough sleep.
In mid-March, the White House did something unprecedented. They suspended hours of service regulations for drivers hauling food and medical supplies. For this reason, we can expect that COVID-19 will cause more truck accidents.
Going Above and Beyond
Truckers are only supposed to work 11 hours at a time and no more than 14 hours in a single day. Traditional hours of service regulations dictate how long a truck driver must rest between shifts. The current figures for recommended driver rest come from nearly 80 years of analysis and legal negotiating.
With these restrictions lifted, truckers hauling essential supplies have the option to put in longer hours while sleeping less. In fact, their fleet controllers may recommend they do exactly that in the desperate rush to restock shelves and deliver masks and ventilators.
Passenger Vehicles Aren’t The Problem
Whenever a discussion about truck accidents comes up, someone inevitably claims that four-wheel vehicles cause most truck accidents. While that may be true in general, it does not address the fact that tired truck drivers already cause 1-in-9 truck accidents.
Even with reduced traffic due to shelter-in-place, tired truck drivers pose a serious risk of endangering themselves and their cargo. If a truck driver is falling asleep at the wheel, they need to pull over, regardless of the lifted regulations.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or even wrongful death due to a truck accident, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced Modesto car accident lawyer from Law Offices of Dean Petrulakis to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (209) 528-0404.