Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. In mid-March, the White House temporarily suspended a long-standing trucking regulation, thereby allowing truckers hauling emergency supplies to drive longer hours and deliver crucial supplies faster. This is an unprecedented measure and could have far-reaching consequences. Does that mean COVID-19 is putting truck drivers at risk?
More Time, More Trouble
Trucking hours of service regulations have been around since 1930. As our understanding of sleep requirements and concentration has changed, so too have the laws. Today, truckers have strong protections that prevent their fleet controllers from pushing them beyond their limits.
Normally, truckers are bound to take a 10-hour break for every 11 hours of driving. However, the recent suspension lifts those restrictions for truck drivers hauling emergency supplies. That means a truck driver can work longer than they ever have before and can’t call upon the limits of the law to get a break.
Under normal circumstances, without pandemic measures in place, about 12% of truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Now, despite fewer drivers on the road, that number is likely to increase.
Fewer Cars, Fewer Crashes?
Some claim suspending hours of service regulations will not put truck drivers at greater risk. After all, they claim, there are fewer cars on the road to crash into.
The truth is that, on average, 40% of truck accidents are single-vehicle accidents. That means nearly half of all truck accidents would occur regardless of the amount of traffic on the road. Add an increased number of fatigued drivers into the equation, and you have a recipe for disaster.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries or even wrongful death in a commercial truck accident, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced
Missouri personal injury attorney from Kolker Law Firm to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (314) 684-8285.